Getting the administration’s attention

GETTING THE ADMINISTRATION’S ATTENTION…. When it comes to tensions between the Obama administration and gay rights supporters, opinions vary on the severity of the slights, who’s to blame, and how best to mend the rift.

It seems clear, however, that administration officials at least recognize the problem and are taking steps to put things right. Whether those steps are sufficient is another matter, but either way, I’m glad the criticism is being taken seriously enough to garner a response. Greg Sargent reported yesterday:

The Obama Justice Department has reached out to major gay rights organizations and scheduled a private meeting for next week with the groups, in an apparent effort to smooth over tensions in the wake of the controversy over the administration’s defense in court of the Defense of Marriage Act.

Tracy Russo, a spokesperson for Justice, confirmed the meeting to me, after I posted below that top gay rights lawyers were miffed that administration lawyers had rebuffed their requests to meet and discuss ongoing litigation involving DOMA.

At the meeting — which hasn’t been announced and is expected to include leading gay rights groups like GLAD and Lambda Legal — both sides are expected to hash out how to proceed with pending DOMA cases.

The meeting will come on the heels of a series of related moves the administration has made this week on gay rights, the latest of which was announced yesterday afternoon: “Gay couples traveling overseas can now show passports that feature their married names, letting them take advantage of a revision to State Department regulations that critics had feared would undermine the federal Defense of Marriage Act.”

In the larger context, the point is, criticism from the gay rights community has clearly gotten the administration’s attention, and officials are concerned enough to act.