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‘You’ve done diddly squat’: actor Cumming slams Obama over gay rights

Alan Cumming has launched a scathing attack on Barack Obama and accused him of doing “diddly squat” to improve gay rights.

The Perthshire-born actor has been a vocal supporter of America’s first black President and even took US citizenship in order to vote for him.

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However, the 45-year-old X-Men star has turned against his former political hero over Obama’s apparent reluctance to repeal the controversial “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy – which prevents openly gay men and women from serving in the US military.

The Democratic Party activist revealed the extent of his disillusionment in a strongly worded statement, saying: “We keep hearing that Obama is an ally, that ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ will end under his watch, but what do we actually get?

“Diddly squat thus far on a federal level, and in addition to that some very offensive statements that would have made the Republicans look bad.”

The graduate of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama claimed the US President risked fuelling anti-gay prejudice unless he delivered on his pre-election pledge to bring equal rights to the military.

“When America is full of hatred of all kinds, but especially hatred towards young gay people, what message is the President sending when he repeatedly goes out of his way to spread the message that the gay population is not worthy of the respect that everyone else is?

“How can we counsel our children not to bully their gay classmates or mock their gay friends when they see their President, their beloved President Obama, refusing to do the equivalent in regards to troops and other adults?”

Last week, the White House asked an appeal court to immediately suspend a judge’s decision to repeal the ban on gays serving openly in the military.

On Tuesday, the US military said it was accepting openly gay recruits for the first time in the country’s history, as District Judge Virginia Phillips of California refused to grant the Obama administration a stay on her court order.

However, the Justice Department then urged the appeals court in San Francisco to immediately suspend Phillips’s repeal of the controversial policy while it considered a reversal of her decision.

It claimed more time is needed to provide forces, especially combat troops, with “proper training and guidance”.

Obama has said he plans to scrap the policy, which requires gay and lesbian service members to stay quiet about their sexuality or face being kicked out, but he believes it should be scrapped by Congress rather than the courts.

The President has ordered a review of the implications of lifting the ban, due to be completed by the end of the year.

An attempt to end the policy stalled in the Senate earlier this year amid strong Republican opposition.

Cumming attended an inaugural ball in Washington DC to mark the beginning of the Obama administration and lavished praise on the new President, stating: “Obama is someone who I believe will make America a place where gay people will be respected.”

The bisexual New York-based actor, who roles include the Bond villain Boris Grishenko and Emcee in the acclaimed Broadway adaptation of Cabaret, applied to become a naturalised American in order to help vote in Obama.

His application was finalised three days after Obama’s historic victory.

The pop star Lady Gaga has joined the Scot in campaigning for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to be axed.

A White House spokesman described it as “a policy that is going to end”, but declined to comment on the timescale.

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