With the oncoming election, a lot of attention has been paid to the Republican nominees. Many forget than President Obama is still passing and updating his own policies on many issues, including LGBTQ rights.
President Obama has not attempted to pass a bill on marriage equality and has stated that he does not support a movement on a national level. A campaign statement in 2009 said:
”Barack Obama has always believed that same-sex couples should enjoy equal rights under the law, and he will continue to fight for civil unions as president. He respects the decision of the California Supreme Court, and continues to believe that states should make their own decisions when it comes to the issue of marriage.”
While he does not support marriage equality, President Obama believes in supporting “strong civil unions,” something he showcased on his campaign website.
“Barack Obama supports full civil unions that give same-sex couples legal rights and privileges equal to those of married couples. Obama also believes we need to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and enact legislation that would ensure that the 1,100+ federal legal rights and benefits currently provided on the basis of marital status are extended to same-sex couples in civil unions and other legally-recognized unions.”
Another topic that has been fiercely debated is adoption rights for LGBTQ individuals and couples. While many republican nominees have used this as reasoning behind their opposition to marriage equality, Obama has given the adoptions his full support, saying in a statement from the White House:
“We also have to do more to support and strengthen LGBT families,” wrote Obama. “Because equality in relationship, family, and adoption rights is not some abstract principle; it’s about whether millions of LGBT Americans can finally live lives marked by dignity and freedom.”
Besides his stance on family, President Obama was also partly responsible for repealing DADT, calling the bill “unconstitutional” and “discriminatory.”
Obama is also the only candidate that supports greater hate crime legislation specifically for LGBTQ individuals. According to his campaign website, he cosponsored legislation that would protect LGBTQ victims of hate crimes and prosecute the offenders under federal law.
Another issue that Obama stands alone on is support for workplace discrimination laws for LGBTQ workers. He fully support the Employee Non-Discrimination Act, according to his campaign website.
While Obama has not come out on his stance on specific transgender issues, he met with members of the transgender community, becoming the first president to hold a meeting on transgender issues. He also was the first president to appoint a transgender appointee when he named Amanda Simpson to the position of Senior Technical Advisor to the Department of Commerce.