[N]or should we feel compelled to surrender our basic humanity to the whims of the election cycle. That type of thinking is a relic of days past when politicians held firmly to the notion that addressing LGBT concerns would undoubtedly be a drag on their electability. What we have witnessed over the past couple years is just the opposite. The repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" scored huge points with President Obama's target voters -- independent, moderate, and progressive alike - and his declaration that the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional reestablished his ability to show bold leadership.
At the outset of the Obama administration, both the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the Human Rights Campaign provided the Obama transition team with a lengthy list of recommendations -- mostly for actions by individual agency level -- that would vastly improve the lives of LGBT Americans and could be accomplished entirely at the discretion of the president via executive action.
The documents were thorough and exhaustive, with HRC's running around 25 pages and NGLTF's coming in at over 200 pages and, while some of the initiatives outlined in these policy papers have been accomplished, the vast majority of them remain either untouched or only partially addressed. In fact, after laying out approximately 80 initiatives in its New Beginnings Initiative, NGLTF lists only nine accomplishments on its success tracker page, which was set up to follow how many administrative actions have been taken by the administration.
We did not achieve "don't ask, don't tell" repeal by being satisfied with White House Easter Egg roll invitations and passing mentions in a handful of speeches. Now is the time for the president to employ his considerable executive powers to effect a government-wide culture change that will trickle down to every corner of America. Let's not squander this opportunity to squeeze as much goodness out of this administration as possible, which in turn will help President Obama secure four more years in office.