Monday, June 29, 2009

Obama Commemorates Stonewall with White House Reception, Reaffirms Commitment to LGBT in Speech

Today, President Obama addressed a crowd of LGBT leaders at the White House's 30-minute reception commemorating the 40th Anniversary of Stonewall, and in a speech he reaffirmed that by the end of his tenure, they would "feel good about the Obama administration."

Obama, in his speech, said that he was still committed to overturning the Don't Ask Don't Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act as well as supporting other gay rights bills including a transgender inclusive ENDA that was introduced by Rep. Barney Frank last week.

In reference to the DOJ's infamous DOMA brief, Obama said, "Now, I want to add we have a duty to uphold existing law, but I believe we must do so in a way that does not exacerbate old divides. And fulfilling this duty in upholding the law in no way lessens my commitment to reversing this law. I've made that clear."

In response to criticism of foot dragging by his administration, Obama stated, "And I know that many in this room don't believe that progress has come fast enough, and I understand that. It's not for me to tell you to be patient any more than it was for others to counsel patience for African-Americans who were petitioning for civil rights a half century ago," he said.

The President's full speech is available in transcript at the White House website.

MSNBC interviewed openly gay U.S. Rep. Jared Polis shortly after the reception. The interview below contains clips from Obama's speech.

For a critical take on today's speech, read Joe Sudbay at America Blog.

See a list of attendees.
Image by Kerry Eleveld of The Advocate.

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