After a quick perusal, I located a mention of LGBT rights; I had predicted earlier this week that ENDA (the Employment Non-Discrimination Act) would not be mentioned, and if this leak is legit, then my prediction has been confirmed. However, Obama does plan, it seems, on mentioning our victory in repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Here's the text from that segment of the address:
We must never forget that the things we’ve struggled for, and fought for, live in the hearts of people everywhere. And we must always remember that the Americans who have borne the greatest burden in this struggle are the men and women who serve our country.I had predicted that the address would be heavily permeated with tinges of bipartisanship, and his mention of DADT repeal is no different: he makes it quite clear that such "divisive battles" as prohibiting gay people from serving openly in the military must end so that we can "move forward as one nation."
Tonight, let us speak with one voice in reaffirming that our nation is united in support of our troops and their families. Let us serve them as well as they have served us – by giving them the equipment they need; by providing them with the care and benefits they have earned; and by enlisting our veterans in the great task of building our own nation.
Our troops come from every corner of this country – they are black, white, Latino, Asian and Native American. They are Christian and Hindu, Jewish and Muslim. And, yes, we know that some of them are gay. Starting this year, no American will be forbidden from serving the country they love because of who they love. And with that change, I call on all of our college campuses to open their doors to our military recruiters and the ROTC. It is time to leave behind the divisive battles of the past. It is time to move forward as one nation.
I am happy that Obama is taking the time tonight to highlight an accomplishment both for the LGBT community (although let us not forget that transgender people still cannot serve) and for the administration. However, I am disappointed (although not surprised) that he is not pushing, in the most high-profile presidential address of the year, for a fully-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act, so that all people can work without fear of being fired because of who they are.
The LGBT community needs ENDA. There are over 20 states where you can be fired for being gay, and over 30 where you can be fired for being transgender. President Obama must call on Congress to pass a fully-inclusive ENDA this year.