Eye Opener: Obama administration and gay rights
Happy Friday! President Obama decision to mandate visitation rights to the partners of gay men and lesbians adds to a growing list of actions -- big, small and ceremonial -- taken by the federal government at the behest of gay rights groups eager to extend various rights and benefits to the LGBT community. They literally composed a wish list of demands and presented them during the 2008 presidential transition. How are they doing with that list? Let's review:
April 8, 2009: The White House announces that gay and lesbian parents are invited with their children to attend the White House Easter Egg Roll.
June 17, 2009: Obama signs a memorandum extending some federal benefits to same-sex partners of federal workers. The measure does not cover health care and retirement benefits. He also pledges support for legislation that would extend all benefits to same-sex partners.
June 29, 2009: The White House holds a Gay Pride Day celebration.
July 31, 2009: Obama posthumously awards the President Medal of Freedom to slain gay rights leader Harvey Milk.
Oct. 28, 2009: Obama signs a hate crimes bill that makes it illegal to assault a person because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Jan. 4, 2010: The State Department ends a ban on people with HIV from entering the United States.
February 2, 2010: Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen announce their personal opposition to the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy and announce plans for a study of the policy.
March 17, 2010: The Department of Housing and Urban Development announces plans to study the impact of housing discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans, and seeks public feedback.
Lest you think Thursday's announcement is just to the benefit of the gay community remember this: The new rules also apply to widows and widowers who have been unable to receive visits from a friend or companion and they allow members of some religious orders (nuns, monks, etc.) to designate someone other than a family member to make medical decisions.
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• Question of the Week: Read this week's answers here.
• Cabinet and Staff News: Are power pantsuits the key to Hillary Clinton's success? The Supreme Court wants more money for security while Justice Stephen Breyer think they'll one day review health-care reform. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. prefers keeping civilian courts open to terrorism suspects. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke speaks to the National Restaurant Association today. Former NSA official allegedly leaked information to the media. Energy Department official to run for Congress. Senators on a key panel like Obama's cybersecurity nominee.
• 2005 destruction of interrogation tapes caused concern: The destruction of 92 videotapes documenting the harsh interrogation of terrorism suspects at secret CIA prisons immediately prompted concern at agency headquarters that the decision was not adequately cleared and may have been improper, according to newly released documents.
• Lieberman, Collins accuse Obama administration of impeding their Fort Hood probe: Two senators accused the Obama administration Thursday of impeding an investigation into whether the government missed warning signs leading up to the Nov. 5 shootings at Fort Hood, Tex.
• Federal Emergency Management Agency faces own fiscal emergency: Money’s so short at the agency these days that it may soon declare an emergency of its own — to raise cash for the next disaster facing the United States.
• New fleet rules urge more walking, biking, less driving: Agencies must consider a variety of approaches to cut fuel consumption in their vehicle fleets, including getting employees out of their vehicles entirely, according to federal guidance issued Wednesday.
• OMB raises cap on executive compensation costs in federal contracts: The administration said $693,951 would be the maximum amount a company could charge the government under cost reimbursement contracts to compensate an executive.
MINE SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION:
• Obama: federal regulators, Massey Energy to blame for mine blast
NASA: The agency's 11-page report for the president detailed the "troublesome" safety record of Massey, adding to the past week's revelations.
• Obama defends changes in space program: The president said he is "100 percent committed to the mission of NASA and its future."
NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY:
• Government could read alleged NSA leaker's encrypted e-mails: One has to wonder whether Thomas A. Drake, the former National Security Agency executive charged with leaking classified information to a reporter, reads Wired, the bible of the internet age.
| April 16, 2010; 8:30 AM ET
Categories: Administration, Eye Opener
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