Shutdown: What It Means for Grantmaking AgenciesSo it's begun. The politics of trying to get a continuing resolution (CR) through Congress is dominating the headlines. The latest news is about House and Senate members going to a joint conference to resolve differences in their respective bills, with Republicans wanting to use the event to stop Obamacare and Democrats wanting a "clean” CR but then using the conference to discuss larger budget issues.

But what does this mean for grantseekers?

Competitive grants
Under a shutdown, for the most part government agencies are not able to make any new awards or contracts, or sign agreements to continue existing awards (albeit there are some exceptions). The staffers who prepare RFPs are going to be on furlough, as are most (though not all) officials with management responsibilities over grants that are already awarded.

The news isn't all bad:  The Federal Register will continue to be published (mainly because of statutory requirements concerning the posting of certain regulations), and RFPs which have already been developed for FY 2014 can potentially be posted in the FR, alerting potential applicants to competitions for which they can prepare grant proposals. The government's website,, should also remain operational, but with less staff support).

Individual benefits
Key programs such as Social Security and Medicare will continue to provide benefits, as is the case with other entitlement programs where payments are funded via permanent entitlement authority.

Formula, block grants and other programs
Activities funded with appropriations of budget authority that do not expire at the end of the fiscal year, such as multiple-year appropriations or appropriations which still have budget authority available for obligation at the time of a funding gap, can continue.

Programs which involve the safety of human life or protection of property, as long as the threat is real and imminent, can continue to operate.  

Agencies plans 
Department of Health and Human Services: The vast majority of employee furloughs would be among grantmaking and employee extensive agencies such as the Administration for Children and Families, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Administration for Community Living and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: Funds for the Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance program would be available today, due to advanced appropriations enacted in the 2013 appropriations legislation.

Medicare would in the short term be relatively unaffected by a lapse in appropriations

CMS would continue a "large portion” of Affordable Care Act activities, including:
  1. Coordination between Medicaid and Health Insurance Marketplaces.
  2. Insurance rate reviews.
  3. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation.
  4. Pre-existing Condition Insurance plan activities.
Indian Health Service: IHS would continue to provide direct clinical health care services as well as referrals for contracted services that cannot be provided through HIS clinics. However, HIS would not be able to provide grant funding to tribes and urban Indian health programs.

Health Resources and Services Administration: HRSA would continue activities funded through sources other than annual appropriations, including Community Health Centers, the National Health Service Corps, and Maternal Infant and Child Health Home Visiting Program. Among the programs HRSA would not be able to provide payments for are the Children's Hospital GME Program, AIDS Drug Assistance Program, and Emergency Relief Grants and Comprehensive Care.

Administration for Children and Families: ACF would continue mandatory funded programs such as the Personal Responsibility Education and Health Professional Opportunity grant programs. Child support and foster care services would continue because they receive advanced appropriations in the FY 2013 appropriations process. ACF would not be able to make new discretionary grants, nor continue quarterly formula grants for TANF, child care, Social Services Block Grant, child welfare programs and the Community Service Block Grant programs.

Administration for Community Living: ACL would continue to support Aging and Disability Resource Centers and healthcare fraud activities supported through mandatory appropriations.  Programs like Senior Nutrition, Native American Nutrition and Support Services, Prevention of Elder Abuse and Neglect, Long-Term Care Ombudsman program and Protection and Advocacy for persons with developmental disabilities would not be funded.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: No new grants; existing programs such as suicide prevention or other national hot lines would continue.

National Institutions of Health: Patient care would continue, but no new research grants would be awarded.

Center for Disease Control: Most domestic programs would be put on hold, with the exception of the Vaccines for Children program.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: Oversight would continue on projects funded by the Patient Center Outcomes Research Trust Fund. No new grants or awards will be available.

Bureau of Indian Education: As BIA funds are forward funded (the 2013-14 school year was funded in FY 2013's appropriations), monies are available to support ongoing school operations for the period of July 1, 2013-June 30, 2014.  

Bureau of Indian Affairs: Funds will be available to:
  • Support critical services that address health and safety of tribes and tribal members.
  • Support investigation of allegations of child abuse and neglect.
  • Provide law enforcement and detention operations on Indian lands, and help coordinate tribal law enforcement activities.
  • Provide transportation infrastructure on tribal lands.
  • Wildlife fire management
Fish and Wildlife Service: Most wetlands conservation activities administered by the North American Wetland Conservation Fund would continue; these are funded through permanent accounts, not annual appropriations, and in this case, "carryover balanced and new recipients would be available.”

Department of Housing and Urban Development: All FY 2013 Indian Housing Block Grant and Indian Community Development Block Grant awards that have been recorded in the LOCCS system will be available during the government shutdown; however, if the grantee did not return their signed grant agreement before Oct. 1, grant funds will not be available in LOCCS until the grant agreement process is complete. All processing will stop during the government shutdown. The IHBG customer service center will continue to operate but in limited capacity.

As for public housing, HUD will continue to address emergency situations where failure to perform those functions would result in an imminent threat to the safety of human life or the protection of property. HUD will also keep open the line of credit contract for purposes of disbursing funds for public housing. For purposes of a shutdown, PHA or tribally-designated housing entities are not part of the federal government and would not close. However, some TDHEs may need to change their normal operating hours, as administrative funds are federal. 

HUD will not be able to fund additional rental assistance payments to public and Indian Housing authorities. The agency predicts TDHEs should be able to continue providing rental assistance for the month of October. But, if the shutdown continues, some TDHE may not be able to maintain normal operations.

Under a shutdown, the Office of Loan Guarantees (Sec. 184) would be closed, so new case numbers, commitments or loan guarantee certificates will be issued for the Indian Housing LGP or Native Hawaiian Housing LGP programs.

For more on this and other issues affecting funding for social service programs, check out CD Publications at or call toll-free 1-800-666-6380, ext. 144.

Source: Press Release from CD Publications
Court dismisses petitions to review DP benefits case, remaining DOMA challenges, Nevada marriage case

WASHINGTON – After the landmark decisions on the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued orders today declining to review the remaining LGBT equality cases on its docket this term.  Most significantly, the Court dismissed Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s petition to overturn the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Brewer v. Diaz, in which that court concluded that Arizona violated the constitutional rights of LGBT Arizona state employees when it passed a law stripping them of their domestic partner benefits in 2009.  Lambda Legal filed suit on behalf of ten state employees and their families. 

“Yesterday’s victories at the Supreme Court thrilled LGBT people across the country, but it also reminded those living in many states of the inequality they and their families continue to face,” said HRC President Chad Griffin.  “Today’s order brings Arizonans a step closer to enjoying the equality that all Americans deserve and that we are all committed to ensuring for everyone, everywhere.  We congratulate Lambda Legal and their courageous plaintiffs in their successful fight against the callous discrimination of their elected officials.”   

In light of its conclusion in Windsor v. United States that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, the Court also dismissed petitions for review in four other challenges to that law.  In addition, the Court declined to accept early review of Sevcik v. Sandoval, a challenge to the constitutionality of Nevada’s constitutional amendment barring marriage for same-sex couples.  That case, brought by Lambda Legal on behalf of Nevada same-sex couples in 2012, suffered a loss at the trial court level, but will now proceed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for review and may be before the Supreme Court again in the coming years.       

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

Springfield, IL, May 31, 2013

Today Friday, May 31, 2013,  the Illinois General Assembly ended its current session without passing SB10, which with the Governor's signature, would have made Illinois the 13th state to enact equal marriage rights for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people. Now the bill will have to wait until fall 2013.

From Gay Liberation Network
"House Speaker Mike Madigan, the de facto leader of the Illinois Democratic Party, is responsible for this abject betrayal," said Andy Thayer, long-time equal marriage rights activist and co-founder of the Gay Liberation Network.  "Anyone who knows anything about Illinois politics knows that Speaker Mike Madigan owns the House – if he had insisted on a positive vote from his caucus, it would have passed. 

"People should remember this when Mike Madigan's daughter runs for the governor next year, which appears to be all but certain.  And people should remember that it was Madigan's ally, Representative Greg Harris, who pledged repeatedly to bring the bill to a vote by today, and then broke that promise. 

"It's not like this was a politically difficult vote.  The latest poll, by Crain's, shows that advocates for equal marriage rights in Illinois out-number our opponents by a nearly two-to-one margin.  The Senate passed it and Governor Quinn repeatedly pledged to sign it, but the real power broker in Illinois couldn't be bothered.  Speaker Madigan has repeatedly shoveled millions of tax dollars to his wealthy cronies, leaving the state's finances in a total mess, but when it comes to passing civil rights legislation, he refused to spend any political capital."

From John Knight, director of the LGBT Project of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois:
"We are disappointed that the Illinois House failed to act on Senate Bill 10, approving the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian couples across the state. We are most distressed for the thousands of couples across the state whose lives and families deserve the dignity and recognition of marriage. We will continue to speak with legislators about the vital need to extend the freedom to marry for these couples. Our litigation filed a year ago this week also continues.  

"We had hoped that Illinois would become the 13th state to approve the freedom to marry today. It did not happen, but we will wake up tomorrow prepared to continue the fight for fairness and equality in Illinois. This effort has been advanced by hundreds of volunteers and advocates. We are confident it will move forward to success." 

From James Esseks, director of the national ACLU LGBT Project:
“Although today’s events in Illinois are disappointing, we will keep fighting. The movement towards fair marriage laws is gaining momentum all across the country. It may take a bit more work with people of good will, but it’s only a matter of time before the freedom to marry comes to Illinois.”

At the close of the legislative session the Illinois House of Representatives did not call for a floor vote or advance The Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, the bill that would grant same-sex couples in Illinois the freedom to marry. Lambda Legal issued the following statement from Jim Bennett, Director of the Midwest Regional Office of Lambda Legal: 

"This is a stunning failure in the Illinois House. This is too important to families across Illinois, and Lambda Legal's lawsuit, Darby v. Orr which was filed a year ago yesterday will move forward.  The day is coming when Illinois will have the freedom to marry. Lambda Legal has been working in the Midwest for the respect of our relationships for 20 years and we won't stop until same-sex couples in Illinois are treated with dignity and respect. 

"We'd like to thank Sen. Steans for passing this bill in the Senate.  We thank Rep. Harris, Rep. Cassidy and Rep. Mell,  who have worked so hard to see this through. However, it's unacceptable that our community did not at least get the vote Rep. Harris promised on the House floor.  We have a right to know where our elected officials stand on the fundamental right to marry the person you love.  We will continue to work with them to push toward passing this critical law as soon as possible." 

The momentum for the freedom to marry has been steadily building; in the past six months,  Washington, Maine, Minnesota, Delaware and Rhode Island have joined 9 other jurisdictions in granting same-sex couples the freedom to marry (Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Washington D.C.) President Obama and President Clinton have endorsed marriage for same-sex couples, and in Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel have publicly supported marriage for lesbian and gay couples. 

Together, Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Illinois each filed lawsuits on May 30, 2012, representing a total of 25 same-sex couples from across the state of Illinois seeking the freedom to marry. Two days later, the Illinois Attorney General's office filed papers agreeing that barring same-sex couples from marriage is unconstitutional. The Cook County Clerk and States Attorney also agree that the marriage ban is unconstitutional. 

Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin released the following statement:

 “The House of Representatives has neglected the rights of its constituents by failing to vote on marriage equality legislation.  For months, LGBT couples and their children have had their lives put on hold throughout an exhaustive political process that ultimately came up short. 

“Today’s inaction is a prime example of why the U.S. Supreme Court must rule in favor of full marriage equality nationwide to ensure the security and welfare of these and countless other American families aren’t left to chance in future political battles.

“We’re grateful to the bill’s sponsors, state Rep. Greg Harris and state Sen. Heather Steans, for their leadership in getting us this far, and will continue to work with them and all of our allies in Illinois to ultimately achieve full marriage equality. 

“We have come so far over the last few months and this tremendous progress is thanks in part to the tremendous leadership of businessman and philanthropist Fred Eychaner, to whom our community is very grateful.”

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – Earlier this week, Exxon Mobil was charged with workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and violation of the Illinois Human Rights Act in a complaint filed with the Illinois Department of Human Rights.  
The complaint was filed by Freedom to Work, a national non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating workplace discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans, which conducted groundbreaking testing to reveal Exxon’s discrimination against an LGBT job applicant. 
According to the complaint, two fictitious and nearly identical resumes were submitted for an Illinois-based job opening with Exxon.  The better-qualified LGBT-identified candidate was never called but the other non-LGBT candidate received three calls requesting an interview.  
A May 24th New York Times story about the case can be viewed here:
A May 22nd AP story about the case can be viewed here:
Statement by Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi.

Edie Windsor lost the love of her life in 2009. They had been together for more than 40 years. They were partners and best friends. They shared everything and honored their responsibilities to one another. Yet, in the eyes of federal law, their marriage was viewed as separate and unequal.

Edie and her late wife, Thea Spyer, are two of millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans denied their fundamental rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness with their families. When Thea passed away, Edie was billed more than $363,000 in federal taxes — because, under the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the federal government treated her and Thea as complete strangers, thereby denying them the estate tax protections afforded to married couples. 

With an unaffordable tax bill and an untenable system, Edie could not remain silent, and she decided to challenge DOMA as a violation of our Constitution. Thankfully, she is not alone.

Citizens across the country have risen up to challenge DOMA, and on Wednesday I will proudly join two of those Americans, my constituents Karen Golinski and Amy Cunninghis, to hear oral arguments before the Supreme Court. They have the support of President Obama, who ordered his administration to stop defending this measure in our legal system, and members of Congress, who have signed amicus briefs reaffirming our belief in marriage equality.

The only national leaders still standing on the wrong side of history are House Republicans, who have used taxpayer dollars to pay outside counsel to defend discrimination. The Republican-approved lawyers have lost in every case and appealed each ruling. So the fight goes on.

Wednesday, Edie’s case will come before the Supreme Court. On Tuesday, justices heard oral arguments on Proposition 8 — the measure that banned same-sex marriages in California.

In both cases, the justices will hear compelling stories of love, commitment and family. They will be asked to consider the individual facts of each argument alongside broader questions of DOMA and Prop. 8′s constitutionality. They will confront values and issues as old as our republic: matters of justice and civil rights, fairness and the role of government, equality and equal protection under the law.

The court’s conclusion must be firm and clear: DOMA and Prop. 8 are unconstitutional. Neither measure meets the standards of our founding principles. Both deserve to take their rightful place in the dustbin of history.

The proponents of laws against marriage equality have long known that such laws would not pass constitutional muster or withstand judicial review as demonstrated by their efforts to preclude judicial review. In 2004, the Republican-controlled House passed the so-called Marriage Protection Act to try to prevent federal courts from ruling on challenges to DOMA. They even claimed that the landmark case, Marbury v. Madison, was “wrongly decided.”

Their idea, known as “court-stripping,” betrays one of the cornerstones of our system of checks and balances: that our judiciary must be independent, free from manipulation by Congress and the president, so that our Constitution and individual rights are always safeguarded. Indeed, defending individual rights and equal protection are core functions of judicial review.

Those rights are at stake in the DOMA and Prop. 8 cases. It is clear that there is no legitimate federal or state government interest in discrimination. Under any standard or by any degree of judicial review, there is no justification for laws against marriage equality.

Both DOMA and Prop. 8 were enacted with motives ranging from “majoritarian prejudice or indifference.” Attempts have been made by proponents of these laws to justify them on erroneous and deeply offensive stereotypes. Yet prejudice — whether motivated by animus or indifference — does not make it right for LGBT families to be punished, stigmatized, or denied their rights.

By overturning DOMA, we will ensure that spousal benefits are provided to the husbands, wives and partners of LGBT service members and veterans. We will strengthen our economy by delivering tax deductions and employee benefits to same-sex couples, in the private sector and the federal workforce. By overturning Prop. 8, California can join the march of states across the country extending the rights and responsibilities of marriage to LGBT Americans.

For Edie Windsor and millions like her, the journey has been long, hard, and defined too often by stigma, injustice and inequality. For all Americans, the fight for civil rights has been a defining cause for our country. With the Supreme Court’s action, that journey and that fight can once again bear the fruits of progress. We can bend the moral arc of history once more toward justice and secure a future of equality for all American families. Today, I hope justice prevails for Windsor and for all LGBT Americans.

Malcolm X College - 1900 W. Van Buren • 9:00am – 1:00pm - Saturday, Feb 9, 2013

Join  the Illinois Immigrant Integration Summit as we commit to fighting for Comprehensive Immigration Reform in 2013, and to celebrate our 2012 accomplishments, including passage of SB 957, Driver's License legislation for all immigrants!
9:00 am - 10:30 am : Diverse Workshops and Panels offered by ICIRR and Member Organizations
Please see workshop descriptions below and visit for more information and to register.
10:45 am - 11:45 am : Achieving Comprehensive Immigration Reform: A Panel Discussion With
Clarisol Duque, Chicago Director, Office of U.S. Senator Dick Durbin
 Mehrdad Azemun, Immigration Campaign Manager, FIRM / Center for Community Change
 Fred Tsao, Policy Director, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
Moderator: Tuyet Le, Executive Director, Asian American Institute. 

12:00pm - 1:00pm : Closing Session with members, allies and elected officials.

Confirmed officials who will be present include Mayor Rahm Emanuel; Attorney General Lisa Madigan; Congressmen Luis Gutierrez, Danny Davis, Bill Foster, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky; Senators Christine  Radogno, Antonio Munoz, Iris Y. Martinez,   Mattie Hunter, Matt Murphy, Pamela Althoff; Representatives Tom Cross,  Eddie Acevedo, Elizabeth Hernandez, Maria Antonia "Toni" Berrios, Daniel Burke, Luis Arroyo, John Cabello, Scott Drury, Laura Fine; Comptroller  Judy Baar Topinka; Cook County Board President Toni  Preckwinkle; Commissioners Bridget Gainer, Jesus "Chuy" Garcia; Clerk of the Circuit Court Dorothy Brown; Will County Board Member Reed Bible; Aldermen Daniel Solis, Ed Burke, Ameya Pawar, Joe Moreno and many more!

WORKSHOPS:  All workshops are free to the public! 
For longer descriptions and to register, please visit
  • Citizenship Workshop - You and your family can apply to become U.S. citizens!
  • DACAmented Youth & Allies: Take Action! - Do you want to learn about next steps after you've been "DACAmented"?
  • What Every Family Needs to Know (English) - Learn your rights and get information about Family Unity Waivers and Temporary Visitors Drivers Licenses!
  • Lo que cada familia necesita saber sobre (Español) - Entender sus derechos, Perdón para la unidad familiar, y las nuevas licencias de conducir en Illinois.
  • Healthy Communities, Healthy Families - Join us for an overview of of the Affordable Care Act and what should be expected in 2014.
  • Parent Mentor Program and Early Childhood Education 101 - Learn the basics, history and philosophy of the nationally-recognized Parent Mentor Program! Provided by the Logan Square Neighborhood Association and the Southwest Organizing Project.
  • Parent Mentor Program and Early Childhood Education – Session for Existing Partners - A reflection and strategy session for partners and key stakeholders already involved in the Parent Mentor Program. Provided by the Logan Square Neighborhood Association and the Southwest Organizing Project.
  • College Bound – Pathways for All Immigrants - Hear from experts from City Colleges of Chicago, IL DREAM Fund and IIT about the pathways for adults and young adults going to college or transitioning from ESL or GED to a college education and career.
  • Welcoming Cities: Setting the Stage for Local and Municipal Leadership in Immigrant Integration - A panel discussion on municipal partnerships to advance immigrant integration and share best practices for creating more welcoming cities in Illinois and throughout the country!
  • Building Coalitions to Fight Mass Incarceration - Join us for a panel discussion with Commissioner Jesus Garcia Elena Quintana (Adler School of Professional Psychology) on effective coalition-building that responds to the criminalizaton of the immigrant and African American communities.
  • Protecting Your Electoral Power - Get to know the common issues facing voters at the polls from voter intimidation to language access, and get trained on poll monitoring! Provided by the Asian American Institute.
  • Addressing Domestic Violence and Mental Health in Our Communities - This workshop addresses barriers to services for victims of domestic abuse such as cultural, linguistic, legal, economic factors and the fear of deportation. Provided by Arab American Family Services.
  • Housing Resources Workshop - This workshop will provide information and resources on Rental Housing, Foreclosure Prevention, and Homebuyer Assistance. Provided by Northside Community Resources, Brighton Park Neighborhood Council and the Rogers Park Community Development Corporation.
  • How To Build Power - Organizing and Advocating for CIR - Join Josh Hoyt (ICIRR), Rudy Lopez (Center for Community Change) and Gabe Lopez (Statehouse Lobbyist) to learn about effective state and federal advocacy.
  • Protecting Our Workers - Hear about ground-breaking efforts to protect low-wage workers and ensure the health and safety of all workers. Includes panelists from ARISE Chicago, Chicago Community and Workers Rights, SEIU Local 1 and Warehouse Workers UE.
For more information and to register for the summit visit  On-site registration-all are welcome!
photos; (L to R) GOP lawmakers Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY) and Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA)

On Tuesday, February 5, 2013, the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), which would allow gay and lesbian couples to sponsor their permanent partners for residency in the United States, was reintroduced in Congress with the backing of GOP lawmakers Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY) and Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA). This marks the first time the legislation has been reintroduced with GOP Congressmembers co-sponsoring the bill.

"I'm glad to join the Log Cabin Republicans in supporting the Uniting American Families Act," said Congressman Charlie Dent. "This bill is a logical extension of current immigration rules. I've received a great deal of input from the business community both in my district and nationally. We are losing talented workers because of existing law. We're also losing people who were part of civic efforts to make our communities better. These are the reasons I agreed to co-sponsor this measure."

Congressman Hanna added: "I support the Uniting American Families Act because our current immigration policy is hurting U.S. businesses and American workers. Because our laws force some couples to live apart rather than together here, Americans are pressured to take their talent, innovation, and wealth elsewhere. Businesses large and small in New York are struggling to keep some of their best workers in the United States. As a result, some companies are forced to relocate employees—and sometimes entire divisions and the jobs they represent—overseas, just to keep American talent in their organization. These Americans simply want to live in their own country with the person they love. We can keep jobs, dollars and talent right here in the United States by simply allowing financially and emotionally-committed couples to live together in the same country."

"We commend Congressman Dent and Congressman Hanna for their support of the Uniting American Families Act. They understand the reality today is that in nine states and the District of Columbia, committed gay couples can marry, but many bi-national same-sex couples are forced to live under the threat of being split up or deported," said Log Cabin Republicans Interim Executive Director Gregory T. Angelo. "These individuals are taxpayers, hard workers, and innovators, and deserving of an immigration reform package that addresses reality."

Source: Press release

by SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson

(WASHINGTON, DC) Army Veteran and OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson today reacted to the Inaugural Address of President Barack Obama, who made history today by voicing groundbreaking support for LGBT equality.

"Today, President Obama made history with a clear and passionate declaration of the fundamental rights of LGBT Americans, and all Americans. We honor the work of his first term - especially his leadership in the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" - and expect great progress over the next four years on the very real inequalities that exist for our LGBT service members, veterans, and their families as we work together to bend the moral arc of the universe toward justice," she said.

ABOUT OUTSERVE-SLDN: OutServe-SLDN is the association of actively serving LGBT military personnel with more than fifty chapters and 6000 members around the world It works to support a professional network of LGBT military personnel and create an environment of respect in the military with regard to sexual orientation and gender identity. It is a non-partisan, non-profit, legal services and policy organization dedicated to bringing about full LGBT equality to America's military and ending all forms of discrimination and harassment of military personnel on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. OS-SLDN provides free and direct legal assistance to service members and veterans affected by the repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law and the prior regulatory ban on open service, as well as those currently serving who may experience harassment or discrimination. For more information, visit

  •  [President Obama’s record] includes ending the war in Iraq, which seemed like mission impossible when he took office. It includes beginning the wind-down of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan that began when today’s high school seniors entered first grade. He made a gutsy call to get Osama bin Laden. Saving the car industry was an equally tough call, and a good one. And the much-maligned Affordable Care Act ensures that Americans won’t go broke just because they get sick. He found two well-qualified women for the Supreme Court and got them confirmed without too much fuss.

  • The president deserves credit for starting to turn the economy around. Instead of losing 800,000 jobs a month, workplaces have added some five million jobs.

  •  [President Obama] has championed the middle class and has a larger, more tolerant notion of America that includes closing the inequality gap and evening the playing field, as exemplified by making an equal-pay-for-women bill the first law he signed. He has fought for the DREAM Act on behalf of the immigrant youths brought here by their parents, and he wants a Supreme Court that will continue to support Roe v. Wade. That’s crucial.

  • Mr. Romney, meanwhile wants to cut taxes, reduce the deficit and increase military spending. That’s magic, not real math. And it’s hard to see how any candidate who keeps much of his wealth stashed overseas — like Mr. Romney — could credibly ask Americans for sacrifice.

  • In the end, Mr. Obama’s policies across the board — the environment, social policy, taxes and immigration — offer a more generous vision for America. The issues he has fought for, coupled with the lingering doubts about Mr. Romney’s persona and his true intentions, make this a clear choice.

Obama for president
Miami Herald
Given the avalanche of mudslinging in the presidential race, voters can easily forget that both President Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney have positive stories to tell about themselves and their records.

For President Obama, it includes ending the war in Iraq, which seemed like mission impossible when he took office. It includes beginning the wind-down of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan that began when today’s high school seniors entered first grade. He made a gutsy call to get Osama bin Laden.

Saving the car industry was an equally tough call, and a good one. And the much-maligned Affordable Care Act ensures that Americans won’t go broke just because they get sick. He found two well-qualified women for the Supreme Court and got them confirmed without too much fuss.

No one’s happy with the pace of the recovery, but the president deserves credit for starting to turn the economy around. Instead of losing 800,000 jobs a month, workplaces have added some five million jobs. Winning cooperation from Congress would have yielded better results, though it must be said that Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader whose stated priority is to send Mr. Obama packing, is no one’s idea of a great dance partner.

Similarly, Gov. Romney has an affirmative record to run on. His success in the business world is undeniable. Rescuing the Salt Lake City Olympics demonstrated the kind of tough-minded competence it will take to fix this nation’s finances.

As governor, he worked with Democrats to close a budget deficit of $3 billion without raising taxes or borrowing money. He passed a model healthcare reform program and burnished his bipartisan credentials by inviting Ted Kennedy, the U.S. Senate’s leading liberal, to share the spotlight at the signing ceremony.

That’s the good Romney, the one we had in mind when we noted favorably earlier this year that he was the closest thing in the Florida primary to a mainstream candidate.

He went on to win that race, but in the ensuing primaries he tacked so far to the right that at one point he managed to paint Texas Gov. Rick Perry — a hardline conservative by anyone’s definition — as a bleeding heart because of his more enlightened stance on immigration. Goodbye, Mr. Moderate. Hello, Mr. Severe Conservative.

Voters rightly complain that they don’t know what the candidates would do in office. Both the president and the former governor are big on rhetoric and stingy on details. But for Mr. Romney, the problem goes deeper, raising doubts about what he stands for and what he believes.

He has taken so many contradictory positions on important issues — abortion, immigration, even Obamacare (first he said he would repeal it; then he said he would keep the parts most people like) — that he could take any action he chooses once in office and claim that it fulfills a campaign promise he made at one point or another. He has run on his record, and he has run from his record.

That’s not an issue for the president. Not all Americans like what he stands for, but they know who he is. He has championed the middle class and has a larger, more tolerant notion of America that includes closing the inequality gap and evening the playing field, as exemplified by making an equal-pay-for-women bill the first law he signed. He has fought for the DREAM Act on behalf of the immigrant youths brought here by their parents, and he wants a Supreme Court that will continue to support Roe v. Wade. That’s crucial.

Like Mr. Romney, he has not said which tax loopholes he would close or how he would go about balancing the budget. But he has insisted on a balanced approach and shared sacrifice — cuts in spending, tax increases for the wealthiest. Mr. Romney, meanwhile wants to cut taxes, reduce the deficit and increase military spending. That’s magic, not real math. And it’s hard to see how any candidate who keeps much of his wealth stashed overseas — like Mr. Romney — could credibly ask Americans for sacrifice.

If he wins a second term, the president must get serious about reforming entitlements and mopping up the ocean of red ink. If spending money to avoid a second Depression was a priority in the first term, balancing the books should be his goal in a second one. To do it, he will have to take a more active role in working with Congress. The Affordable Care Act was a long overdue achievement. But leaving the details to Congress to work out the specifics was the wrong way to go about it.

Indeed, one of the more perplexing aspects of Mr. Obama’s campaign has been the failure to stump for a more reasonable Congress. Whether he gets one or not, if he’s reelected he must summon the skills necessary to persuade lawmakers to meet him halfway. That’s the kind of leader Americans want in the White House.

In the end, Mr. Obama’s policies across the board — the environment, social policy, taxes and immigration — offer a more generous vision for America. The issues he has fought for, coupled with the lingering doubts about Mr. Romney’s persona and his true intentions, make this a clear choice. In the race for president, The Miami Herald recommends BARACK OBAMA.

Source: American for OBAMA