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What advocates want to hear from Obama in State of the Union

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The Caucus Blog at The New York Times asked a cross-section of advocates what they want to hear from Obama in the State of the Union. Obviously, Obama has a number of unkept promises to the LGBT community -- and he's continuing to defend DOMA in the courts. Among those asked to submit their ideas were HRC and Equality Matters. Now, as you can imagine, HRC didn't ask the President for anything too complicated. That might endanger their access. No, they want him to talk about bullying. Yes, it's an important issue, but requires no heavy lifting from the President. Equality Matters on the other hand wants the President to be a leader by talking about marriage and DOMA.

Andy Towle nailed it:

While bullying is certainly a worthy issue to take on, shouldn't HRC, our nation's largest advocacy group for LGBTs, be challenging the President to take on ENDA, or DOMA and marriage equality - something substantial and civil rights-oriented in the legal sphere?

Or is this what's setting the pace for HRC in 2011?
The job of advocacy groups should be to advocate. Sometimes, that involves making our leaders uncomfortable. Chances are, HRC was tipped off that if the President says anything, it will be about bullying. So, HRC just basically gave Obama another pass. But, the White House should have learned last year that HRC does not speak for the community. Sure, he should talk about bullying, but that's not all. We need to hear something about ENDA or DOMA and marriage.

The White House would be wise to listen to Andy Towle and Equality Matters on what the LGBT community really wants to hear. They're more interested in equality than access.

Here is Equality Matters' Richard Socarides:
Richard Socarides, president of Equality Matters: “In order to be the kind of transformational leader he can be, he should show the country the way forth on dismantling the so-called Defense of Marriage Act so that the law no longer robs the states of their right to decide the question of marriage, nor deprives lawfully married gay Americans of their federal benefits. That’s the advice I’m giving to all the people I know who might actually influence the speech. If you want to be a leader, this is the speech in which to do it.”

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