Gay Issues

Obama Delivers Yet Another Victory for Gays

| by Baptist Press

WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration delivered another victory for homosexual activism Wednesday when it ruled private businesses must permit employees to take leave for the birth, adoption or care of a child of a same-sex relationship.

The Department of Labor announced the reinterpretation of the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) only a day after President Obama spoke at a White House event celebrating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, a designation he made in a presidential proclamation.

The new ruling means the '93 law will cover a homosexual worker who acts as a parent with a partner, or spouse if he or she lives in a state where same-sex marriage is legal. Under the reinterpretation, the employee can take leave for the birth or adoption of a child, for placement of a child through foster care, or for care of a sick child.

The Department of Labor's move is only the latest example of Obama advancing the homosexual cause. Among other things, he:

-- signed into law last year a measure extending hate-crimes protections to homosexuals and transgender people. Critics called it a blow to religious speech.

-- signed a memorandum extending some of the legal benefits of marriage to federal employees.

-- instructed the Department of Health and Human Services to require that hospitals participating in Medicare or Medicaid allow visitation rights to the homosexual partners of patients.

-- has worked with the Pentagon and Congress in recent weeks with the goal of ending the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that prevents homosexuals from serving openly in the military. He criticized the policy during his State of the Union address.

-- used his Mother's Day and Father's Day proclamations to applaud families with "two mothers" and "two fathers"

-- commemorated June as "LGBT Pride Month" this year and last year with proclamations and White House events.

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, businesses with at least 50 employees are required to provide as many as 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a 12-month period to a worker for the entrance of a child into the family, for care of a seriously ill member of the immediate family or for the employee's own serious health condition.

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis made it clear the reinterpretation would benefit homosexual workers.

"No one who intends to raise a child should be denied the opportunity to be present when that child is born simply because the state or an employer fails to recognize his or her relationship with the biological parents," Solis said in a written release. "The Labor Department's action today sends a clear message to workers and employers alike: All families, including LGBT families, are protected by the FMLA."

Pro-family organizations protested the action.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said in a written statement the move "would for the first time force private employers in all fifty states -- even those which have amended their constitution to forbid legal recognition of same-sex relationships -- to extend benefits to just those relationships. Only Congress has the power to work such a dramatic change in the meaning of the FMLA.

"President Obama cannot continue to ignore the law and the Constitution and legislate from the White House in order to pander to his left-wing constituency," Perkins said. "If the president can continue to defy the rule of law as it pertains to marriage, which is the cornerstone of society, what will be next?"

Perkins said the Family Research Council will work alongside those who challenge the new rules in court.

Obama hosted this year's "LGBT Pride" event Tuesday evening at the White House, touting his accomplishments for the homosexual community but telling those in attendance that "we've got a lot of hard work that we still have to do."

"And I want you all to know that as this work continues, I'm going to be standing shoulder to shoulder with you, fighting by your side every step of the way," he told the audience.

He also said "we have never been closer to ending" the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which he labeled discriminatory.

"I'm going to keep on fighting until that bill is on my desk and I can sign it," he said.

Obama also restated his opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 law that defines marriage in federal law as being between one man and one woman. It also gives states the option of not recognizing another state's "gay marriages." A repeal of DOMA could lead to the legalization of "gay marriage" in all 50 states.

The country's largest homosexual organization used the announcement of the new rule on family leave to call for eradication of DOMA.

The rule's failure to extend the Family and Medical Leave Act to care by employees for same-sex partners or spouses "highlights the limitations of what fair-minded agencies can do," said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human rights Campaign. "The Defense of Marriage Act continues to treat our families as second-class, and to achieve true equality for LGBT people, it must be repealed."