Hate-Crime Law Marks Fork in Road for Obama

Are more equality measures on the way, or is this the token?
By Will McCahill,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 28, 2009 8:00 PM CDT
President Obama reacts with the mother of Matthew Shepard, Judy Shepard, second left, and James Byrd Jr.'s sisters, Louvon Harris, left, and Betty Byrd Boatner during a White House reception today.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – President Obama today signed a bill extending hate-crime protection to homosexuals, a victory for equality advocates after more than a decade of pushing for such a law. But, Chris Geidner wonders, will this open the floodgates for more action—eliminating Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, for instance—or will this be “the single trinket doled out to a loyal constituency group until the next time the group demands action?”

Though Obama sounds like he’s in favor of building on this legislation with more steps, Geidner adds for the Atlantic, “one can see why some advocates have grown concerned with the desire of the president to confront Congress on any items in his legislative agenda—let alone those in the sphere of ‘social issues.’”