Savage: Obama Denies Gays 'Gold Standard' Rights

When President Obama was elected last November, many groups that supported him expected to see some great return on their investment.

Among the eager constituencies were gay rights advocates, including columnist Dan Savage.

But five months after the inauguration, Savage tells NPR's David Greene that "President Obama should be very angry with candidate Obama."

The reason?

"Our expectations have not been met," Savage says. "Who raised our expectations? Candidate Obama."

The expectation was that Obama would overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, which denies federal marriage benefits to same-sex couples. The administration filed a brief earlier this month in support of the law because, as White House press secretary Robert Gibbs explained, "the Justice Department is charged with upholding the law of the land, even though the president believes that that law should be repealed."

Savage says that "the most important marriage rights out there are federal rights — Social Security, survivor benefits, pensions" — all of which are denied same-sex couple survivors under DOMA. Domestic partner rights aren't enough because they aren't always upheld.

Marriage rights are "the gold standard," and it's time for same-sex couples to share those rights, says Savage, who adds that the time to act on behalf of the gay community is now, while Obama has a mandate and a Democratic majority in Congress.

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