A term I created in the Jun 21, 2010 post “Obama admin to extend FMLA to gay employees using new interpretation of existing law (w/poll)“:

What does this mean? I think I’m going to start calling these Obama administration baby steps for equality “Cinderella Crumbs” — a shiny, beautiful, breathtaking accomplishment that turns into a pumpkin at midnight — in this case, whenever a future homophobic president decides to rescind the baby step.

The Family Medical Leave Act has been in place for since 1993, and it mandates that workers are able to take up to 12 weeks of leave (unpaid) to take care of family members or themselves, and it most commonly is used for health matters, child/parental care or maternity/adoptive leave, and the latter was only offered to heterosexual couples. Note that this leak comes just before tomorrow’s WH Pride reception; clearly this will be the centerpiece announcement – the Cinderella Crumb for 2010.

President Barack Obama and his administration have slowly rolled out policies to help gays and lesbians, who supported his candidacy but have soured on what they consider his slow pace in making incremental instead of wholesale changes. He planned to meet with gay activists Tuesday at the White House, the second time such a reception has been held at the executive mansion.

This FMLA gain is not permanent and doesn’t involve Congress — and that’s on purpose. This White House has shown it cannot or will not get behind its own promises made during the campaign and use the bully pulpit to make the big ticket items happen. It’s not about having a full plate — we’ve seen the disgusting DOMA brief, the endless DADT dance and power-grab by the Pentagon — it’s clear this President doesn’t have civil rights as the cornerstone of his first term and thus urge Congress that this cannot wait. LBJ knew how to push an agenda during a full plate era; the excuses are getting tired. So out it trots this change in “interpretation” of FMLA as it stands.

In other words, executive actions by the President that are “policy changes” or recommendations to agencies to broaden its interpretation of a policy or mission to be inclusive of LGBTs.

Also see:

* A look at The Pink Beltway’s alternate universe view of the Obama admin’s LGBT ‘accomplishments’.

Below the fold are examples of Cinderella Crumbs doled out by the administration and pimped by the DNC’s Andrew Tobias.

Accomplishments by the Administration and Congress on LGBT Equality

No one should rest until we have full LGBT equality.  But after eight years of Republican disrespect, progress is being made.  In its first 17 months, the Obama Administration has…

  1. Reversed an inexcusable US position by signing the UN Declaration on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
  2. Extended benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees in 2009 and, further, in 2010
  3. Endorsed the Baldwin-Lieberman bill, The Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act of 2009, to provide FULL partnership benefits to federal employees
  4. Signed the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act
  5. Lifted the HIV Entry Ban effective January 2010
  6. Released the first Presidential PRIDE proclamations since 2000
  7. Hosted the first LGBT Pride Month Celebration in White House history
  8. Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Harvey Milk and Billie Jean King
  9. Appointed the first ever transgender DNC member
  10. Issued diplomatic passports, and provided other benefits, to the partners of same-sex foreign service employees
  11. Committed to ensuring that HUD’s core housing programs are open to all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity
  12. Conceived a National Resource Center for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Elders — the nation’s first ever — funded by a three-year HHS grant to SAGE
  13. Testified in favor of ENDA, the first time any official of any administration has testified in the Senate on ENDA
  14. Signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which expanded existing United States federal hate crime law to include crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability — the first positive federal LGBT legislation in the nation’s history
  15. Hired and appointed a record number of qualified LGBT Americans (like these), including more than 15 Senate-confirmed appointments
  16. Sworn in Ambassador David Huebner
  17. Changed the culture of government everywhere from – among others – HUD and HHS to the Export-Import Bank, the State Department, and the Department of Education
  18. Appointed Sonia Sotomayor and nominated Elena Kagan, instead of conservatives who would have tilted the Court even further to the right and virtually doomed our rights for a generation.  To wit (quoting McCain): “I’ve said a thousand times on this campaign trail, I’ve said as often as I can, that I want to find clones of Alito and Roberts.  I worked as hard as anybody to get them confirmed. I look you in the eye and tell you I’ve said a thousand times that I wanted Alito and Roberts.  I have told anybody who will listen. I flat-out tell you I will have people as close to Roberts and Alito [as possible].”
  19. Named open transgender appointees (the first President ever to do so)
  20. Banned job discrimination based on gender identity throughout the Federal government (the nation’s largest employer)
  21. Emphasized LGBT inclusion in everything from the President’s historic NAACP address (“The pain of discrimination is still felt in America.  By African American women paid less for doing the same work as colleagues of a different color and a different gender.  By Latinos made to feel unwelcome in their own country.  By Muslim Americans viewed with suspicion simply because they kneel down to pray to their God.  By our gay brothers and sisters, still taunted, still attacked, still denied their rights.”) . . . to the first paragraph of his Family Day proclamation (“Whether children are raised by two parents, a single parent, grandparents, a same-sex couple, or a guardian, families encourage us to do our best and enable us to accomplish great things”) and his Mothers Day proclamation (“Nurturing families come in many forms, and children may be raised by two parents, a single mother, two mothers, a step-mom, a grandmother, or a guardian.  Mother’s Day gives us an opportunity to celebrate these extraordinary caretakers”) . . . to creating the chance for an adorable 10-year-old at the White House Easter Egg roll to tell ABC World News how cool it is to have two mommies . . . to including the chair of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce along with the Secretary of the Treasury and the President of Goldman Sachs in the small audience for the President’s economic address at the New York Stock Exchange . . . to welcoming four gay couples to its first State Dinner
  22. Recommitted, in a televised address, to passing ENDA . . . repealing Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell  . . . repealing the so-called Defense of Marriage Act
  23. Spoken out against discrimination at the National Prayer Breakfast (“We may disagree about gay marriage, but surely we can agree that it is unconscionable to target gays and lesbians for who they are — whether it’s here in the United States or, as Hillary mentioned, more extremely in odious laws that are being proposed most recently in Uganda.”)
  24. Dispatched the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to call on the Senate to repeal Don’t Ask / Don’t Tell, in the meantime dialing back on discharges
  25. Launched a website to gather public comment on first-ever federal LGBT housing discrimination study
  26. Appointed long-time equality champion Chai Feldblum one of the four Commissioners of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  27. Eliminated the discriminatory Census Bureau policy that kept our relationships from being counted, encouraging couples who consider themselves married to file that way, even if their state of residence does not yet permit legal marriage
  28. Produced U.S. Census Bureau PSAs featuring gay, lesbian, and transgender spokespersons.
  29. Instructed HHS to require any hospital receiving Medicare or Medicaid funds (virtually all hospitals) to allow LGBT visitation rights.
  30. Appointed Retired Colonel Margarethe Cammermeyer, an early public champion of open service in the military, to the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services
  31. Required all grant applicants seeking HUD funding to comply with state and local anti-discrimination laws that protect LGBT individuals.
  32. Adopted transgender recommendations on the issuance of gender-appropriate passports that will ease barriers to safe travel and that will provide government-issued ID that avoids involuntary “outing” in situations requiring ID, like hiring, where a gender-appropriate driver’s license or birth certificate is not available
  33. Extended domestic violence protections to LGBT victims
  34. Publicly invited shunned MIssissippi high school prom student to the White House
  35. Extended the Family and Medical Leave Act to cover employees taking unpaid leave to care for the children of same-sex partners

On of the curious things about this plumped up list is that over at the Democratic Party web site (ostensibly seen by many more people), the list is much slimmer…and check out the priority order between the two lists. Why the major differences, hm?

Obama Administration’s Commitment to the LGBT Community

“So we are all witnesses to monumental changes in this country.  That should give us hope, but we cannot rest.  We must continue to do our part to make progress — step by step, law by law, mind by changing mind.  And I want you to know that in this task I will not only be your friend, I will continue to be an ally and a champion and a President who fights with you and for you.” – President Barack Obama, June 2009

In their year in office, the Obama Administration has:

  1. Reversed an inexcusable US position by signing the UN Declaration on Gay Rights
  2. Signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which expanded existing United States federal hate crime law to include crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability
  3. Extended benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees
  4. Hired and appointed a record number of qualified LGBT Americans, including over 10 Senate confirmed appointments
  5. Lifted the HIV Entry Ban
  6. Endorsed the Baldwin -Lieberman bill, The Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act of 2009, to provide domestic partnership benefits to federal employees
  7. Hosted the first LGBT Pride Month Celebration in White House history
  8. Released the first Presidential PRIDE proclamation since 2000
  9. Extended the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act
  10. Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Harvey Milk and Billie Jean King
  11. Appointed six new LGBT DNC Members, including the first transgender DNC member in history
  12. Nominated David Huebner as U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa
  13. Vowed to work with Congress and the military to end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Blender QueerInSoCal that clearly breaks down that list of 35 items.

It’s not 35 items, particularly if you discount the one blatant lie:
Dispatched the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to call on the Senate to repeal Don’t Ask / Don’t Tell, in the meantime dialing back on discharges

Actively agitated against successful repeal of DADT, substituting a compromise bill with no definitive end, and no provision for interim reduction/elimination of discharges under DADT.

Categorizing the balance of the “items”…
Substantial impact, easily reversed:
Instructed HHS to require any hospital receiving Medicare or Medicaid funds to allow LGBT visitation rights. *
Adopted transgender recommendations on the issuance of gender-appropriate passports
Extended the Family and Medical Leave Act to cover employees taking unpaid leave to care for the children of same-sex partners

Broad but minimal impact, easily reversed:
Committed to ensuring that HUD’s core housing programs are open to all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity

Narrowly targeted and minimal impact:
Conceived a National Resource Center for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Elders funded by a three-year HHS grant to SAGE
Extended benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees in 2009 and, further, in 2010
Lifted the HIV Entry Ban effective January 2010
Issued diplomatic passports, and provided other benefits, to the partners of same-sex foreign service employees

Substantial impact on a tiny portion of LGBTs (sometimes as little as one person):
Appointed the first ever transgender DNC member
Sworn in Ambassador David Huebner
Named open transgender appointees
Banned job discrimination based on gender identity throughout the Federal government
Extended domestic violence protections to LGBT victims

Nothing more than lifting a pen – Congress did the actual work:
Signed the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act
Signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act

How is this related to LGBT?
Appointed Sonia Sotomayor and nominated Elena Kagan
Appointed long-time equality champion Chai Feldblum one of the four Commissioners of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Appointed Retired Colonel Margarethe Cammermeyer, an early public champion of open service in the military, to the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services**
Required all grant applicants seeking HUD funding to comply with state and local anti-discrimination laws that protect LGBT individuals.

Finally we get to the biggest category…

Window dressing with no measurable impact:
Reversed an inexcusable US position by signing the UN Declaration on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Endorsed the Baldwin-Lieberman bill, The Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act of 2009, to provide FULL partnership benefits to federal employees
Released the first Presidential PRIDE proclamations since 2000
Hosted the first LGBT Pride Month Celebration in White House history
Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Harvey Milk and Billie Jean King
Testified in favor of ENDA, the first time any official of any administration has testified in the Senate on ENDA
Changed the culture of government everywhere from – among others – HUD and HHS to the Export-Import Bank, the State Department, and the Department of Education (“changed the culture? Really? How about that DOJ filing on DOMA?)
Emphasized LGBT inclusion in everything from [yada, yada, yada]
Recommitted, in a televised address, to passing ENDA . . . repealing Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell . . . repealing the so-called Defense of Marriage Act
Spoken out against discrimination at the National Prayer Breakfast
Launched a website to gather public comment on first-ever federal LGBT housing discrimination study
Eliminated the discriminatory Census Bureau policy that kept our relationships from being counted
Produced U.S. Census Bureau PSAs featuring gay, lesbian, and transgender spokespersons.
Publicly invited shunned MIssissippi high school prom student to the White House

* – I expect to see a flurry of lawsuits after hospitals deny visitation anyway.

** – Wouldn’t it have made more sense – not to mention been more productive – to have named her to the commission studying the end of DADT? Since, you know, that’s what she’s known for.

This administration has been big on empty promises, and short on action.