Saturday, May 2, 2009

WhiteHouse.Gov Gets GLBT Makeover

GLBT voters are bedrock Democrats. Accordingly, all of the Democratic presidential candidates expressed their passionate support for gay rights -- with the glaring exception of same-sex marriage. WhiteHouse.Gov contains a civil rights page that lists many areas of interest, including gay rights. But as several bloggers have observed, the webpage was recently overhauled, and the changes are raising eyebrows.

Tinkering With DOMA and DADT Language
The amended version of the webpage omits language stating that the president wants to see DOMA and DADT repealed. While the DOMA language disappeared altogether, the new DADT passage states that the president supports "changing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in a sensible way that strengthens our armed forces and our national security" (italics added).

After receiving several complaints, the web personnel have changed the site to reinstate the "repeal" of DADT language, although it awkwardly states that the president wants to repeal the statute in a "sensible" way. Nevertheless, the DOMA language remains missing.

Signaling a Policy Shift?
Coincidentally, the administration currently faces lawsuits that challenge the constitutionality of DOMA and DADT. After receiving extensions to file responses to the cases, the time is slowly running out for the Obama administration. According to Professor Nan Hunter's blog, the government's replies are due next week. It is difficult to believe that changes in WhiteHouse.Gov language concerning these two issues do not indicate the position the government will soon take in the lawsuits.

The government, however, has stated that it is simply editing the pages to transition from "campaign" to "governance" mode. Because governance includes defending the government against lawsuits, I suppose the changes could reflect policy after all.


Anonymous said...

This language makes me laugh.

Transition from "campaign" to "governance" mode.

To quote the campaign: "Are these just words?"


aratina said...

Hmmm... President Obama leaves me so confused. Thanks for the link to Hunter's blog.

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