Election 2012: Obama’s re-election ‘means more progress for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people’

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund responds to the re-election of President Barack Obama.

Statement by Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey:

What we want is a president who recognizes our lives and families and will fight for us. President Obama has repeatedly shown he is willing to do so, and we now have another four years to keep up the momentum.

Four years ago when Barack Obama was first elected president, we were optimistic that it marked the dawn of a new political era in the life of this country. The new administration came in promising a sea change in the national dialogue on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues. In many ways, that’s exactly what’s happened. From passage of hate crime protections and the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ to growing support for marriage equality and implementing new policies that treat LGBT people and our families with fairness and dignity, the last four years have been filled with monumental gains.

We see the tremendous strides of the past four years while acknowledging much remains to be done. The president’s re-election presents us with the opportunity to keep moving forward. In the next four years, we will be vigilant in pursuing policies to ensure our community continues on the path toward equality and is not left behind. We’ll be pushing for passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, ending the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, ensuring that transgender people can serve openly in the military, preserving a social safety net, and continued reform of the immigration and health care systems, among other issues.

The bottom line is that America deserves nothing less than a president who will treat all families fairly — and that’s what we have.We congratulate President Obama and his team. We look forward to working with them to build a stronger future for LGBT people and in creating opportunity for all.

Some key gains over the past four years; priorities for the second term

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people saw monumental gains during the Obama administration’s first term, including:

  • The repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” military ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual service members.
  • The passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the first federal law to add protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Employment protections for federal employees prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and for the first time, gender identity.
  • Nearly every hospital in the United States is now required to have a written policy that explicitly allows a patient to designate whomever they want to visit them in hospitals, including LGBT families.
  • Lifting of the HIV travel ban.
  • Virtually any housing program touched by the federal government is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity due to a rule issued by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • In the health insurance marketplaces (known as “exchanges”) that will be set up in 2014 under the health reform law, health insurance plans will not be allowed to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Some key priorities for a second term include:

  • Passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (federal LGBT employment protections).
  • Ending the so-called Defense of Marriage Act.
  • Ensuring that transgender people can serve openly in the military.
  • Protecting funding levels for the Ryan White CARE Act.
  • Improving federal LGBT data collection efforts to help eliminate disparities facing LGBT people.
  • Ensuring that government contractors, grantees and others who receive federal funding don’t discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in employment decisions.
  • Working with federal agencies to update their policies to be inclusive of transgender people.
  • Ensuring that federal funds are not used to discriminate against LGBT people and their families.