Clinton’s presidency was historic for LGBT rights
For LGBT rights?
Well, two of the three Ninth Circuit judges who signed onto the decision in Schwenk v. Hartford were appointed by Bill Clinton (the author of the opinion was a Carter appointee.) So, I guess that’s something.
But what else was there?
Interestingly, The John couldn’t even be bothered to mention that in a long string of points that he uses to attempt to Viagra-ize this thesis:
Those who lived through a particular moment in “history,” tend to remember it, for better of worse. Those who were too young at the time, read about it instead. What they read, the source and its biases and overall accuracy, impacts what they end up believing. And what they end up believing isn’t necessarily what actually happened.
Which takes us to Bill Clinton’s presidency, and more generally Hillary Clinton’s progressive bona fides. Bernie Sanders had an interesting predicament running for president. How do you run against a liberal icon who has not only the entire party apparatus behind her, but who’s married to a sidekick who had one of the most successful presidencies, and thus is one of the biggest campaign draws, in modern memory?
Answer: You rewrite her history.
Now I’ll state up front: I’d prefer a Democratic nominee who espouses Sanders’ policies. But I also knew going in that Hillary was to going to allow herself to lose again. Moreover, the Dems would need a strong wave to defeat whatever con artist the Republicans might come up with.
Doubly so in light of the con artist who managed to con the Republican party out of its nomination.
So, I am not writing in defense of Bernie.
I’m writing in defense of what The John want you to believe he’s writing in defense of: history.
[A] discussion of Bill Clinton’s and Hillary’s record on LGBT rights.
I’ve been surprised, as someone who has worked in the top wrungs of LGBT activism at the national (and international) level for over twenty years, to read lately about how a number of lefty youth think Bill Clinton’s LGBT record is the worst ever. They usually — only — mention Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), conveniently glossing over every other quantum leap Bill Clinton took on behalf of our civil rights back in a time when it still wasn’t terribly cool to embrace the gay.
So is The John talking about “the gay”? Or the “LGBT”?
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
Gay people were ecstatic when Bill Clinton won the presidency in 1992. Clinton had already made clear that he wasn’t just the most pro-gay (we used the word “gay” back then, rather than LGBT) president in history, but he was more pro-gay than American society at large, and even many Democrats. Clinton had promised that the first thing he’d do on assuming office would be lifting the ban on gays serving in the military.
Looks like The John hasn’t lost a step in his disingenuousness game.
Notice the sleight of hand there? Throwing in a fake historical declaration as universal fact. Yes, some people used “gay” to refer to everything – even up to the 1990s. However, some other people used “gay” to mean “gay” and only “gay” because they didn’t (and still don’t) believe that anything else is worthy of mention (much less civil rights coverage.)
And all of that is in addition to the re-writing of history to refer to “LGBT” when, in reality, at most only the “LGB” are the proper historical subjects.
Bill Clinton’s historic advances on gay rights
I wrote about this earlier, and listed a number of the Bill Clinton gay/LGBT successes, but I’ll repeat a few of them here:
- 1997, Clinton endorsed adding sexual orientation to the Hate Crimes bill.
- Appointed first-ever openly-gay US ambassador.
- Had an openly-gay person with AIDS speak during prime time at the Democratic Convention in 1992. This was a multiple “first.”
- Tried to lift the ban on gays serving openly in the military.
- Ended discrimination against gays in the federal workforce.
- Ended discrimination against gays in getting security clearances to work for the feds.
- Endorsed ENDA.
- Blocked Republican efforts to pass legislation prohibiting unmarried couples from jointly adopting children in the District of Columbia, and legislation which would have denied certain federal funds to localities with domestic partnership laws.
- Issued first-ever presidential gay Pride Month proclamation.
- Dramatically increased funding for HIV/AIDS.
- Worked to stop discrimination against people with AIDS.
- Opposed anti-gay ballot initiatives in Colorado and Oregon.
- Fought discrimination against people with AIDS in the military.
- Directed the Justice Department and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to vigorously prosecute those who discriminate against people with AIDS, leading to actions against health care providers and facilities that violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- First administration to help asylum-seekers based on sexual orientation.
- First president to grant asylum for gays and lesbians facing persecution in other countries.
- Fought harassment of students based on sexual orientation.
- Fought for and signed the Kennedy-Kassebaum Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which bans insurance discrimination against people with pre-existing medical conditions including HIV/AIDS. In addition, President Clinton issued a directive that ensures that all providers of Federal health insurance abide by non-discrimination rules including sexual orientation.
- Under President Clinton’s leadership, the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention commissioned scientific panels to study lesbian health issues and to suggest research methods for scientists who want to study specific lesbian health issues. This is the first time a U.S. Government agency has commissioned an examination into this subject.
- Appointed more than 150 openly-gay appointees to his administration. Again, this simply wasn’t done before Clinton’s presidency.
- Appointed first-ever White House gay liaison.
- Appointed the first-ever White House AIDS Czar.
- Appointed the first-ever openly-gay federal official confirmed by the US Senate. (Roberta Achtenberg, Jesse Helms’ “damn lesbian.”)
- Convened the first-ever White House conference on HIV/AIDS.
- First president to speak before a gay organization.
Now, bear in mind the following: My post here is not a criticism of Bill or Hillary.
But it is a criticism of someone…
someone who looks to be up to his old tricks.