Not all LGBT groups were overly happy with President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Speech. While he did make mention of LGB service members and their families, he is being criticized for his lack of focus on other LGBT issues such as the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and helping binational couples.
On some of these, President Obama is looking for ways to avoid having to work with Congress on those issues.
Anthony Martinez, the Executive Director of The Civil Rights Agenda, criticized Obama saying:
“Many LGBT leaders and community members had hoped that the President would choose this moment to aid in advancing important policy issues affecting LGBT Americans. The President has continually been an advocate for LGBT Americans, as exemplified in his inaugural address this year. Although that is the case, he must use some of his political capital to advance issues such as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and comprehensive immigration reform that includes same-gender couples. Also, as we work to pass marriage equality in Illinois, we must overturn the Defense of Marriage Act to ensure that Illinois same-gender couples in a marriage can access the over 1,300 federal benefits that come with the word marriage. These are issues that affect all LGBT Americans, but they are especially important to LGBT people of color and low-income families who have always had a harder time navigating the system and struggled to be heard. It is our hope that in his second term he will focus more resources and energy on bringing the LGBT community closer to full equality, but only time will tell.”