Thomas Roberts   |  May 06, 2013

LGBT community makes strides in gaining equality

Former Clinton adviser Richard Socarides talks fight for equality within the LGBT community and how it has progressed over the past year.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> i am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women are entitled to the same exact rights. i don't see much of a distinction beyond that.

>> what a difference a year can make. a historic comment from vice president joe biden made one year ago today. at the time it was seen as a big political gaffe. on may 9 president obama ultimately made that mess his own message for reelection.

>> it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that i think same sex couples should be able to get married.

>> however, at the one year anniversary of don't ask don't tell being repealed u.s. military members were being denied same sex benefits. and then the first openly gay senator are elected. in december america's high court decides to take up california's proposition 8. in january the president makes this historic inaugural speech.

>> our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law. for if we are truly created equal then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal, as well.

>> and then by february of this year outgoing defense chief extends certain benefits. the supreme court hears arguments on marriage equality . and in the sporting world jason collins comes out as the first openly gay male pro athlete. rhode island becomes the tenth state to sign marriage equality into law. joining me now is former president of equality matters and new yorker writer and advocate richard. it is great to have you here. as we look at the year in review where does the momentum pick up?

>> we are about to probably see three additional states this month, illinois and delaware are looking pretty certain and perhaps minnesota this month. so it would, you know, be another addition of three states. we saw four states as you said in the setup piece since president obama made his announcement. we will have probably three more this month. and everybody is waiting for the supreme court decisions which will come at the end of next month.

>> that is going to come at the end of next month. one thing that is a political hot potato in the immigration debate . marco rubio says if it goes ahead it will tank it. the lgbt community is basically omitted from having federal protection in immigration reform .

>> the immigration debate is very difficult, a very difficult decision for the legislateers who are dealing with it and gay rights activists because immigration reform is so important to the country as a whole and it's something that immigration activists have worked on for a long time but it is fundamentally unfair as the president said this weekend that lgbt americans be denied the same rights that they would have were they in heterosexual marriages, in other words, if you are married to a noncitizen you can get that person a green card except if you are gay.

>> how can the lgbt community be discounted when we are going over all that is necessary and needed to take us through the next generations and we omit that, why?

>> some of the supporters -- i'm not justifying it. i don't think we should. i think some of the members on the coalition on immigration reform come from more conservative or some are religious based supporters. and they have been slow to come to supporting immigration reform for lgbt couples. i think perhaps the only saving grace in all of this is if we can get a ruling from the supreme court which strikes doma before a final immigration vote this will be a nonissue.

>> another thing that happened big in july the american psychiatric association says trans gendered people were no longer considered mentally ill . and that is not something that carries a stigma.

>> absolutely. extremely important development. i think we will look back on what happened a year ago with vice president biden and president obama coming out for same sex marriage as a real turning point in the entire gay rights struggle.

>> as always great to see you. thanks, buddy.