Group works to help Obama 'turn the corner' on Warren controversy
A gay-rights group has launched a petition drive to urge President-elect Barack Obama to commit to a slate of its policy goals to make up for his decision to invite conservative evangelical Rick Warren to pray at next month's inauguration.
The Human Rights Campaign petition is raising support for its "Blueprint for Positive Change," aimed at fostering equality for gays and lesbians.
HRC's Blueprint for Positive Change calls on President-elect Obama to:
•Issue an Executive Order within the first 100 days that reaffirms protections for federal workers based on sexual orientation and expands them to also include gender identity; Gay rights groups have been highly critical of Obama's decision to invite Warren, a California preacher who catalyzed support for Proposition 8 and has compared gay marriage to polygamy and incest.
•Work with Congress to sign Hate Crimes legislation into law within 6 months;
•Support only a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA);
•In the first 100 days develop a plan to begin the process of eliminating the failed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy; and
•Work with Congress to end unequal tax treatment of domestic partnerships benefits.
"Our loss in California over the passage of Proposition 8 which stripped loving, committed same-sex couples of their given legal right to marry is the greatest loss our community has faced in 40 years," HRC president Joe Solmonese wrote in a letter to Obama Thursday. "And by inviting Rick Warren to your inauguration, you have tarnished the view that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans have a place at your table."
Obama tried to dampen the criticism Thursday, calling his views in support of gay equality "consistent" and explaining that he hoped to engender a spirit of openness in his administration by welcoming speakers at the inauguration even though he disagrees with them on some issues.