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January 21, 2013

Presidential Inaguration 2013: The Obama Administration and LGBT Aging Issues


President Obama and the First Lady with Tony Schmidt and SAGE Constituent Jerry Hoose
The following is a guest post by Aaron Tax, Director of Federal Government Relations at SAGE.


Today is the second inauguration of President Barack Obama. It’s a great day to celebrate the President’s accomplishments from the past four years and to look forward to what we hope will be four more years of progress for LGBT older adults.

As you know, President Obama has done a tremendous amount for all LGBT people during his first term–from signing the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, to issuing a memorandum on hospital visitation (providing for same-sex partner visitation and medical decision-making) and being the first sitting President to come out (so to speak) in support of marriage equality.  The list goes on and on.

His administration has also advanced policies that bring attention to and address the unique challenges faced by LGBT older adults.  The Administration on Aging (AoA), under the leadership of Administrator Kathy Greenlee, has been leading the way.  In 2010, one of the very first initiatives to come out of the AoA was its creation of the first-ever National Resource Center on LGBT Aging. In November 2011, Administrator Greenlee participated in a Hill briefing on LGBT aging. And this past year, AoA released guidance to the aging network allowing them to consider LGBT older adults as a group of greatest social need. 

Even beyond AoA, the Administration advanced issues important to LGBT older adults.  For example, in June 2011, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued guidance to state Medicaid directors, providing them the option to extend spousal impoverishment protections to same-sex couples. And in May 2012, the White House hosted the first-ever White House LGBT Conference on Aging in Miami. With more than 160 participants from across the country, the conference put LGBT aging issues on the national stage.

We congratulate President Obama on his second inauguration and we look forward to another four years of progress.


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