Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Obama Responds to Family Equality Council

Sen. Obama Responds to Jennifer Chrisler’s Questions on Family Policy
Dustin on Aug 5th 2008

Just three weeks ago, presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain said in a NYTimes interview that he does not “believe in gay adoption.” The Family Equality Council immediately responded, issuing a statement questioning McCain’s grasp on the reality of American families.

A great deal of press ensued, including this AP article that generated interest in the issue nationwide. Even though our efforts to raise the visibility of McCain’s divisive statement resulted in increased attention to LGBT family issues, we didn’t think that a press statement went far enough.

On Wednesday, July 23 Jennifer Chrisler, Executive Director of Family Equality Council, issued identical letters to Sens. McCain and Obama, outlining the vast array of family types in this country and asking both candidates to explain how their administrations would work to recognize, respect, protect and celebrate all loving families in the US. One week later, Sen.

Obama issued the following statement in response to Jennifer:

Dear Jennifer,

While we live in a nation that is enriched by a vast array of diverse traditions, cultures and histories, it is our commonality that most defines us. The desire to build a life with a loved one, to provide for a family and to have children who will grow and thrive — these are desires that all people share, regardless of race, sex, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity. My own experience has taught me this lesson well.

I was born to a single mother, my devoted grandparents helped raise me, and then I married the woman of my dreams and had two beautiful daughters. The love that has blessed each of those households has been strong and sure, and I know that millions of families across this nation share the same blessings.

We know that the cost of the American dream must never come at the expense of the American family. For decades we’ve had politicians in Washington who talk about family values, but we haven’t had policies that value families. Instead, it’s harder for working parents to make a living while raising their kids. It’s even harder to get a break.

That’s why I’ll double spending on quality after-school programs - so that you can know your kids are safe and secure. And that’s why I’ll expand the Family Medical Leave Act to include more businesses and millions more workers; to let parents participate in school activities with their kids; and to cover elderly care. And we’ll finally put federal support behind state efforts to provide paid family and medical leave. We’ll require employers to provide seven paid sick days each year. We’ll enforce laws that prohibit caregiver discrimination. And we’ll encourage flexible work schedules to better balance work and parenting for mothers and fathers. That’s the change that working families need.

But we also have to do more to support and strengthen LGBT families. 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. That’s why we have to repeal laws like the Defense of Marriage Act. That’s why we have to eliminate discrimination against LGBT families. And that’s why we have to extend equal treatment in our family and adoption laws.

I’ll be a president that stands up for American families – all of them.

Barack Obama

The Family Equality Council applauds Sen. Obama for his timely and thoughtful response to serious questions that define the health and safety of millions of American families. As of today, we have heard nothing in return from Sen. McCain.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Stuck in Sinsinawa

It's almost always my intention to be as positive as I can. Our thoughts have power and thinking good thoughts just feels better than thinking negative ones!

And I have truly had a wonderful weekend!!It was my second training retreat weekend and I adored almost every moment of it. But the experience was not completely without stress and I think I need to share some of it one way or another. Since I have had very poor cell phone reception here, I am going to write about it.

First of all, I am stuck because of weather conditions between where I am now and home. I was rather pleased with myself this time around because I'd planned my flights so that I was only away from my son for 3 days. On day 4, I'd be on my way home and would get to see him right before he went to bed. But that won't happen because I will be here tonight, instead, hoping to take flight in the morning, after which I will be hanging out in several airports, waiting for time to pass until each upcoming flight, getting home~~if I'm lucky~~more than 12 hours after the journey begins!! Thank goodness I have a couple of books to read.

Another complaint: it seems that summer, with pollen blowing like dust in the wind, has just come to Sinsinawa and I have been coughing since I got here, rasping my way through conversations and singing and generally, annoying even myself with all that hacking.

One more: in my room, there is an undiscovered hole in the screen. Can you say gnats everywhere!

Okay, I'm done!

What was wonderful about the weekend was spending time with all these wonderful women who are sharing the training experience with me. AND everything we learned this weekend as we started our new module. There seemed to be two themes: eco spirituality (one word? two?) and the use of movement for prayer or worship or blessings.

The presentation we saw on how the world came into being was absolutely awesome!! It was very moving.

So, great weekend all things considered! :)