Obama White House LGBT Stonewall Fete: Transcript, Guest List, Video


East Room

4:35 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody.  Hello, hello, hello.  (Applause.)  Hey!  Good to see you.  (Applause.)  I'm waiting for FLOTUS here.  FLOTUS always politics more than POTUS.

MRS. OBAMA:  No, you move too slow.  (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT:  It is great to see everybody here today and they're just — I've got a lot of friends in the room, but there are some people I want to especially acknowledge.  First of all, somebody who helped ensure that we are in the White House, Steve Hildebrand.  Please give Steve a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  Where's Steve?  He's around here somewhere.  (Applause.)

The new chair of the Export-Import Bank, Fred Hochberg.  (Applause.)  Where's Fred?  There's Fred.  Good to see you, Fred.  Our Director of the Institute of Education Sciences at DOE, John Easton.  Where's John?  (Applause.)  A couple of special friends — Bishop Gene Robinson.  Where's Gene?  (Applause.)  Hey, Gene.  Ambassador Michael Guest is here.  (Applause.)  Ambassador Jim Hormel is here.  (Applause.)  Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown is here.  (Applause.)

All of you are here.  (Laughter and applause.)  Welcome to your White House.  (Applause.)  So —

 AUDIENCE MEMBER:  (Inaudible.)  (Laughter.)

 THE PRESIDENT:  Somebody asked from the Lincoln Bedroom here.  (Laughter.)  You knew I was from Chicago too.  (Laughter.)

 It's good to see so many friends and familiar faces, and I deeply appreciate the support I've received from so many of you.  Michelle appreciates it and I want you to know that you have our support, as well.  (Applause.)  And you have my thanks for the work you do every day in pursuit of equality on behalf of the millions of people in this country who work hard and care about their communities — and who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.  (Applause.)

 Now this struggle, I don't need to tell you, is incredibly difficult, although I think it's important to consider the extraordinary progress that we have made.  There are unjust laws to overturn and unfair practices to stop.  And though we've made progress, there are still fellow citizens, perhaps neighbors or even family members and loved ones, who still hold fast to worn arguments and old attitudes; who fail to see your families like their families; and who would deny you the rights that most Americans take for granted.  And I know this is painful and I know it can be heartbreaking.

And yet all of you continue, leading by the force of the arguments you make but also by the power of the example that you set in your own lives — as parents and friends, as PTA members and leaders in the community.  And that's important, and I'm glad that so many LGBT families could join us today.  (Applause.)  For we know that progress depends not only on changing laws but also changing hearts.  And that real, transformative change never begins in Washington.

     (Cell phone "quacks.")

Whose duck is back there?  (Laughter.)

MRS. OBAMA:  It's a duck.

THE PRESIDENT:  There's a duck quacking in there somewhere.  (Laughter.)  Where do you guys get these ring tones, by the way?  (Laughter.)  I'm just curious.  (Laughter.)

 Indeed, that's the story of the movement for fairness and equality — not just for those who are gay, but for all those in our history who've been denied the rights and responsibilities of citizenship; who've been told that the full blessings and opportunities of this country were closed to them.  It's the story of progress sought by those who started off with little influence or power; by men and women who brought about change through quiet, personal acts of compassion and courage and sometimes defiance wherever and whenever they could.

 That's the story of a civil rights pioneer who's here today, Frank Kameny, who was fired — (applause.)  Frank was fired from his job as an astronomer for the federal government simply because he was gay.  And in 1965, he led a protest outside the White House, which was at the time both an act of conscience but also an act of extraordinary courage.  And so we are proud of you, Frank, and we are grateful to you for your leadership.  (Applause.)

 It's the story of the Stonewall protests, which took place 40 years ago this week, when a group of citizens — with few options, and fewer supporters — decided they'd had enough and refused to accept a policy of wanton discrimination.  And two men who were at those protests are here today.  Imagine the journey that they've travelled.

It's the story of an epidemic that decimated a community — and the gay men and women who came to support one another and save one another; and who continue to fight this scourge; and who demonstrated before the world that different kinds of families can show the same compassion and support in a time of need — that we all share the capacity to love.

So this story, this struggle, continues today — for even as we face extraordinary challenges as a nation, we cannot — and will not — put aside issues of basic equality.  (Applause.)  We seek an America in which no one feels the pain of discrimination based on who you are or who you love.

 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 to African Americans who were petitioning for equal rights a half century ago.

But I say this:  We have made progress and we will make more.  And I want you to know that I expect and hope to be judged not by words, not by promises I've made, but by the promises that my administration keeps.  And by the time you receive — (applause.)  We've been in office six months now.  I suspect that by the time this administration is over, I think you guys will have pretty good feelings about the Obama administration.  (Applause.)  

Now, while there is much more work to do, we can point to important changes we've already put in place since coming into office.  I've signed a memorandum requiring all agencies to extend as many federal benefits as possible to LGBT families as current law allows.  And these are benefits that will make a real difference for federal employees and Foreign Service Officers, who are so often treated as if their families don't exist.  And I'd like to note that one of the key voices in helping us develop this policy is John Berry, our director of the Office of Personnel Management, who is here today.  And I want to thank John Berry.  (Applause.)

 I've called on Congress to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act to help end discrimination — (applause) — to help end discrimination against same-sex couples in this country.  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.

I'm also urging Congress to pass the Domestic Partners Benefits and Obligations Act, which will guarantee the full range of benefits, including health care, to LGBT couples and their children.  (Applause.)  My administration is also working hard to pass an employee non-discrimination bill and hate crimes bill, and we're making progress on both fronts.  (Applause.)  Judy and Dennis Shepard, as well as their son Logan, are here today.  I met with Judy in the Oval Office in May — (applause) — and I assured her and I assured all of you that we are going to pass an inclusive hate crimes bill into law, a bill named for their son Matthew.  (Applause.)

In addition, my administration is committed to rescinding the discriminatory ban on entry to the United States based on HIV status.  (Applause.)  The Office of Management and Budget just concluded a review of a proposal to repeal this entry ban, which is a first and very big step towards ending this policy.  And we all know that HIV/AIDS continues to be a public health threat in many communities, including right here in the District of Columbia.  And that's why this past Saturday, on National HIV Testing Day, I was proud once again to encourage all Americans to know their status and get tested the way Michelle and I know our status and got tested.  (Applause.)

And finally, I want to say a word about "don't ask, don't tell."  As I said before — I'll say it again — I believe "don't ask, don't tell" doesn't contribute to our national security.  (Applause.)  In fact, I believe preventing patriotic Americans from serving their country weakens our national security.  (Applause.)

Now, my administration is already working with the Pentagon and members of the House and the Senate on how we'll go about ending this policy, which will require an act of Congress.

Someday, I'm confident, we'll look back at this transition and ask why it generated such angst, but as Commander-in-Chief, in a time of war, I do have a responsibility to see that this change is administered in a practical way and a way that takes over the long term.  That's why I've asked the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to develop a plan for how to thoroughly implement a repeal.

I know that every day that passes without a resolution is a deep disappointment to those men and women who continue to be discharged under this policy — patriots who often possess critical language skills and years of training and who've served this country well.  But what I hope is that these cases underscore the urgency of reversing this policy not just because it's the right thing to do, but because it is essential for our national security.

Now, even as we take these steps, we must recognize that real progress depends not only on the laws we change but, as I said before, on the hearts we open.  For if we're honest with ourselves, we'll acknowledge that there are good and decent people in this country who don't yet fully embrace their gay brothers and sisters — not yet.

That's why I've spoken about these issues not just in front of you, but in front of unlikely audiences — in front of African American church members, in front of other audiences that have traditionally resisted these changes.  And that's what I'll continue to do so.  That's how we'll shift attitudes.  That's how we'll honor the legacy of leaders like Frank and many others who have refused to accept anything less than full and equal citizenship.

Now, 40 years ago, in the heart of New York City at a place called the Stonewall Inn, a group of citizens, including a few who are here today, as I said, defied an unjust policy and awakened a nascent movement.

It was the middle of the night.  The police stormed the bar, which was known for being one of the few spots where it was safe to be gay in New York.  Now, raids like this were entirely ordinary.  Because it was considered obscene and illegal to be gay, no establishments for gays and lesbians could get licenses to operate.  The nature of these businesses, combined with the vulnerability of the gay community itself, meant places like Stonewall, and the patrons inside, were often the victims of corruption and blackmail.

Now, ordinarily, the raid would come and the customers would disperse.  But on this night, something was different.  There are many accounts of what happened, and much has been lost to history, but what we do know is this:  People didn't leave.  They stood their ground.  And over the course of several nights they declared that they had seen enough injustice in their time.  This was an outpouring against not just what they experienced that night, but what they had experienced their whole lives.  And as with so many movements, it was also something more:  It was at this defining moment that these folks who had been marginalized rose up to challenge not just how the world saw them, but also how they saw themselves.

As we've seen so many times in history, once that spirit takes hold there is little that can stand in its way.  (Applause.)  And the riots at Stonewall gave way to protests, and protests gave way to a movement, and the movement gave way to a transformation that continues to this day.  It continues when a partner fights for her right to sit at the hospital bedside of a woman she loves.  It continues when a teenager is called a name for being different and says, "So what if I am?"  It continues in your work and in your activism, in your fight to freely live your lives to the fullest.

 In one year after the protests, a few hundred gays and lesbians and their supporters gathered at the Stonewall Inn to lead a historic march for equality.  But when they reached Central Park, the few hundred that began the march had swelled to 5,000.  Something had changed, and it would never change back.

 The truth is when these folks protested at Stonewall 40 years ago no one could have imagined that you — or, for that matter, I — (laughter) — would be standing here today.  (Applause.)  So we are all witnesses to monumental changes in this country.  That should give us hope, but we cannot rest.  We must continue to do our part to make progress — step by step, law by law, mind by changing mind.  And I want you to know that in this task I will not only be your friend, I will continue to be an ally and a champion and a President who fights with you and for you.

Thanks very much, everybody.  God bless you.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  It's a little stuffed in here.  We're going to open — we opened up that door.  We're going to walk this way, and then we're going to come around and we'll see some of you over there, all right?  (Laughter.)  But out there.  (Laughter.)

 But thank you very much, all, for being here.  Enjoy the White House.  Thank you.  (Applause.)



White House LGBT Event

June 29, 2009

Administration Officials

John Berry, Director, Office of Personnel Management

Fred Hochberg, Chair, Export-Import Bank

John Easton, Director, Institute of Education Sciences at the Department of Education

City and State Officials

Jason Bartlett, Connecticut House of Representatives

Kate Brown, Oregon Secretary of State

David Dibble, Minnesota State Senator

Evan Low, Vice-Mayor, Campbell, CA City Council

Al McAffrey, Oklahoma House of Representatives

Andrew Mcdonald, Connecticut House of Representatives

Robert Meza, Arizona House of Representatives

Christine Quinn, New York City Council

Debra Shore, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

Denise Simmons, Mayor of Cambridge, MA

Kyrsten Sinema, Arizona House of Representatives

Patricia Todd, Alabama House of Representatives

Lupe Valdez, Dallas County Sheriff

Other Invited Guests (Invite Only)

Michael Adams, Service and Advocacy for LGBT Elders (SAGE)
Mark Agrast, Washington, DC

Madeline Alk, New York, NY

Ron Ansin, Harvard, MA

Judith Appelbaum, Department of Justice

Chip Arndt, Miami Beach, FL

Cornelius Baker, National Black Gay Men's Advocacy Coalition

Tom Barbera, SEIU Lavender Caucus

Andrew Barnett, Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League (SMYAL)

Jarrett Barrios, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)

Vic Basile, Office of Personnel Management

Christopher Bates, Washington, DC

Michael Bauer, Chicago, IL

Terrance Bean, Portland, OR

Jeremy Bernard, National Endowement for the Humanities

Jennifer Besson, Washington, DC

Dana Beyer, Chevy Chase, MD

David Binder, San Francisco, CA

Elizabeth Birch, Washington, DC

Jeremy Bishop, Pride at Work (AFL-CIO)

David Bohnett, Beverly Hills, CA

Marsha Botzer, Quilcene, WA

Raymond Buckley, DNC Vice-Chair

Eliza Byard, Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)

Christopher Caldwell, Los Angeles, CA
 Leslie Calman, Mautner Project

Rea Carey, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

Charles Carter, New York, NY

Kevin Cathcart, Lambda Legal

Curtis Chin, Los Angeles, CA

Jennifer Chrisler, Family Equality Council

Jamie Citron, Department of Health and Human Services

Wes Combs, Washington, DC

Roberta Conroy, Santa Monica, CA

Cheryl Cook, Department of Agriculture

Stampp Corbin, San Diego, CA

Michael Council, Columbus, OH

Wilson Cruz, West Hollywood, CA

Mark Davis, Philadelphia, PA

Todd Dickinson, Washington, DC

Daniel Dozier, Washington, DC

Ruby Dunning, Washington, DC

Ingrid Duran, Falls Church, VA

Christopher Dyer, Washington, DC Office of LGBT Affairs

Steven Elmendorf, Washington, DC

Fred Eychaner, Chicago, IL

Eric Fanning, Department of Justice

Yvette Flunder, City of Refuge United Church of Christ

Earl Fowlkes, International Federation of Black Prides

Rebecca Fox, National Coalition for LGBT Health

R. Brandon Fradd, New York, NY

Daniel Galindo, San Antonio, TX

Adolfo Garay, New York,

Jesus Garcia, TX LULAC 4871

Joan Garry, Montclair, NJ

Rufus Gifford, Washington, DC

Emily Giske, New York, NY

Mitchell Gold, Hickory, NC

John Gonzalez, Washington, DC

Vernita Gray, Chicago, IL

Chad Griffin, Los Angeles, CA

Patrick Guerriero, Gill Action

Michael Guest, Former Ambassador

Rebecca Haag, AIDS Action

Steve Hildebrand, Sioux Falls, SD

Gavin Hilgemeier, Federal GLOBE

Leonard Hirsch, Federal GLOBE

Lorilyn Holmes, Federal GLOBE

Clifford Honicker, Knoxville, TN

Conrad Honicker, Knoxville, TN

Gerald Hoose, Stonewall Participant

Ernest Hopkins, Communities Advocating Emergency AIDS Relief

Hon. James Hormel, Former Ambassador

Paul Horning, Atlanta, GA

Brad Hoylman, Village Independent Democrats

Jody Huckaby, Parents, Families, & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)

Kevin Jennings, Department of Education

Jennifer Jones, Department of Housing and Urban Development

Frank Kameny, Washington, DC

Elaine Kaplan, Office of Personnel Management

Paul Kawata, National Minority AIDS Council

Mara Keisling, National Center for Transgender Equity

Kate Kendell, National Center for Lesbian Rights

Jacqueline Kittrell, Knoxville, TN

Harry Knox, Human Rights Campaign

Steven Latasa-Nicks, New York, NY

Andre Leon Talley, White Plains, NY

Richard Llewellyn, Los Angeles, CA

Robert Llewellyn, Los Angeles, CA

Rosemary Llewellyn, Los Angeles, CA

Thomas Lopach, Export-Import Bank

Lin Lougheed, Miami Beach, FL

Claire Lucas, Corona del Mar, CA

Glenn Magpantay, Federation of LGBTQ AAPI Organizations

Mary Beth Maxwell, Department of Labor

Lisbeth MelendezRivera, Unid@s

Shannon Minter, National Center for Lesbian Rights

Chance Mitchell, National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce

Mary Morten, Chicago, IL

Babak Movahedi, Miami Beach, FL

David Munar, National Association of People with AIDS

Kevin Naff, Washington Blade

Justin Nelson, National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce

J. Alexander Nicholson, Servicemembers United

David Noble, NASA

Matt Nosanchuk, Silver Spring, MD

Robyn Ochs, BiNet USA and Bisexual Resource Center

Derek Orr, DC Office of Disability Rights

C. Dixon Osborn, Washington, DC

Kathleen Padilla, Philadelphia, PA

Pari Parker, Washington, DC

Skip Paul, Beverly Hills, CA

Terry Penrod, Columbus, OH

Troy Perry, Founder Metropolitan Community Churches

Thomas Petrillo, Washington, DC

Frank Pond, Los Angeles, CA

Robert Raben, Raben Group

Gautam Raghavan, Department of Defense

Steven Ralls, Washington, DC

Ellen Ratner, Washington, DC

Miriam Redleaf, Chicago, IL

Catherine Renna, Chicago, IL

Dr. Sylvia Rhue, National Black Justice Coalition

Jeffrey Richardson, Washington, DC

Laura Ricketts, Chicago, IL

Anthony Riley, Prince Georges County, MD

Carmen Robello, New York, NY

Bishop Gene Robinson, Diocese of New Hampshire

Hilary Rosen, Washington, DC

David Rosenauer, New York, NY

Renee Rosenfield, New York, NY

Jane Saks, Chicago, IL

Aubrey Sarvis, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network

Thomas Schmidt, Stonewall Participant

Marsha Scott, Washington, DC

Evan Shapiro, New York, NY

Jonathan Sheffer, New York, NY

Judy Shepard, Matthew Shepard Foundation

Babs Siperstein, Edison, NJ

Melissa Sklarz, National Stonewall Democrats

Mary Snider, Silver Spring, MD

Courtney Snowden, The Raben Group

Joe Solmonese, Human Rights Campaign

Rick Stafford, DNC LGBT Caucus Chair

Eric Stern, UC Berkeley School of Law

Jon Stryker, Kalamazoo, MI

Sally Susman, New York, NY

John Tedstrom, Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GBC)

Kevin Thompson, Seattle, WA

Andrew Tobias, DNC Treasurer

Jeffrey Trammell, Washington, DC

Ted Trimpa, Denver, CO

Gregory Varnum, National Youth Advocacy Coalition (NYAC)

Alex Wagner, Department of Defense

Paquita Wiggins, Beltsville, MD

Phil Wilson, Black AIDS Institute

Peter Wilson, New York, NY

Robert Witeck, Arlington, VA

Chuck Wolfe, Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund

Tobias Wolff, Philadelphia, PA


  1. Lucrece says

    Saw the livestream.

    They were drooling for him, and apparently imagined a cue where every period in his speech, no matter how frequent, had to be followed by cheering and clapping.

    The speech was a cookie cutter, patronizing regarding the DOMA brief fiasco.

    I could not stomach watching more than 4 minutes.

  2. Paul R says

    Longer speech than I expected. And while he equivocated on a few points, I can’t really complain.

    Of course, I also can’t get too excited until I see change I can believe in.

  3. ben says

    I think it’s very very nice. Agreed, time for continuing action, but I can’t imagine that wouldn’t be the case after these events. It’s cookie cutter? Oh possibly, but who cares if the cookie is sweet.

  4. says


    Where did you get the transcript from? I did not see this transcript sent out by the White House to the regular press distribution list. Did you get yours from the white house? I posted on this issue, so I just want to make sure I’m not spreading false info.


  5. says

    Even more meaningless than I’d expected. Even more shocking a display of terminal gay analingus than I’d imagined still possible.

    It was a trite, ultimately dishonest and patronizing speech; a jumbled collage of primary campaign recyled promises and present day excuse-making in which his words contradicted his actions, sometimes shamelessly as if we’re too lazy or stupid not to know the truth.

    “had a meeting with Judy Shepard”? No, he paused long enough to be photographed with her.
    “must enforce all laws”? No, he doesn’t.

    “but not in a way that makes things worse”? No he hasn’t. Class, can you all say, “Deceitful, homophobic DADT and DOMA briefs”?

    And he didn’t even try to make an excuse for not freezing discharges, nor apologize to Lt. Col. Fehrenbach who was supposed to be there today….but should be out of the Air Force by the time Massa and Mrs. Massa sit down for Thanksgiving For Not Being Born Gay Dinner.

    At this rate, “by the time the Obama administration is over,” nearly 5000 more will have been discharged.

    Neither was this historic, as some are cooing, except that it was live-streamed on the Net…..and 99.99999999999999999999999% of Americans neither watched nor knew about it. If it gets an evening news mention, good, but it still amounts to a blip on the vital signs monitor of the suspended animation state in which he has placed his promises to LGBTs.

    Gays met with Clinton at the White House in 1993….while he did do some good things, it prevented neither DADT nor DOMA from happening. He spoke at an HRC banquet in 1997. No ENDA or hate crimes bill came out of that.

    From the embarrassing screams for his mere appearance and every teleprompted syllable there are clearly more Rainbow Fools for Obama left than one imagined. Mass comas for the past six months perhaps? Sickening.

    NOTA BENE: We only got this crumb, this last minute NON event [why was it scheduled for the day AFTER the actual Stonewall anniversary and not even mentioned until two weeks after his worthless Pride proclamation…because someone finally convinced him the natives were REALLY restless] because of withholding money from the DNC. That’s going to have to continue and spread and deepen if he’s going to actually be forced to DO any of what he claims he is.

    Most pathetic, inexcusable part? He’s so isolated that he doesn’t even get how NON controversial most of the things we’re asking for are.


  6. Matt says

    It seemed like a very heartfelt speech. If we want action, we need to contact our representatives in the government instead of just whining about how Obama is not taking action. Obama can certainly not overturn DOMA by himself.

    I think he’s doing his best to lead by example and not take any extreme measures that will give easy ammunition to the religious right.

    Let’s keep up the pressure and the anger, but how about channeling it to Democrats who aren’t onboard with us yet? If we had 200+ representatives and 60+ senators in favor of repealing DOMA, I have no doubt it would be repealed today.

  7. says

    “Obama can certainly not overturn DOMA by himself”????

    Uh, particularly when he’s DEFENDING it in court….claiming it DOES NOT discriminate against gays….would be OK even if it did….blah blah blah.


    So you’re a mind reader now?

    GROW UP!!!

    I don’t give a flying fuck about what he FEELS!!!!!!

    He’s comatose!

  8. michael says

    I think it’s incredible to have the President of the United States giving a speech like that and anyone who doesn’t appreciate it is either insane or merely inane. And yes if in 4 years actions haven’t followed words, then anger will be deserved. Until then, Matt is exactly right — focus our anger and activism on getting congressional democrats to support our priorities, and state legislatures, and changing hearts and minds. Obama is our ally, but we have to do the hard work ourselves.

  9. Scott Van Tussenbrook says

    Jesus Christ — BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. How easy it is to speak pretty words to a roomful of the already converted.

    I hate to think our “leaders” would sell us all out for the price of a jigger of Dewar’s and a festive photo op.

    Why does it feel like that’s what just happened? Deafening silence of any criticism toward the Obama administration by anyone at the little cocktail party starts in 5, 4, 3…

    “Remember, you had a great time, don’t forget to sign your waiver, thanks for coming, remember, you LOVE us, you too Lt. Choi, hey we just put YOUR waiver in the envelope with that other letter you’re getting from us this week, hope that’s ok, LOL, thanks again for coming everybody, remember to keep writing those lovely lovely checks and remember, you just have to be patient just a little bit longer! We swear! This time we mean it though, FERREALS!” >snicker<

  10. Chris says

    nice words, but now we have to keep the pressure on him and congress by calling our representatives and letting them know we want these laws passed!

  11. DJ says

    Michael, your comments are pathetic. Clinton gave us DADT and DOMA!!! So why don’t YOU GROW UP, already!! Stop acting like Clinton was some saint and Obama is some devil.

    So much bitching and whining here.

    Thank you, Chris, for a comment that seems pretty relevant to the words and the needed action.

  12. Mark says

    President Obama lost another opportunity to apologize for the offensive DOJ brief and chose not to. His administration is under no obligation to file a brief on behalf of DOMA. His history of pleasant platitudes is tedious. His claim of “progress” on GLBT issues is alarming. What progress? What a joke!

  13. Cory says

    The denial is still very strong in these ones (if I could make a gay star wars movie, that would be the opening line).

    Wake up gays, Obama isn’t an ally, merely a conditional lover.

  14. says

    @ DJ:

    “Stop acting like Clinton was some saint”???

    Exactly which part of my, “Gays met with Clinton at the White House in 1993…while he did do some good things, it prevented neither DADT nor DOMA from happening. He spoke at an HRC banquet in 1997. No ENDA or hate crimes bill came out of that” nominates him for sainthood?

    Obama isn’t “the devil”… but he is a phony Messiah who doesn’t have the balls Harry Truman had in 1948 when he racially integrated the military despite OVERWHELMING, virulent racism across the country…. but does have the gall to stand up in front of a room full of gays and try to tell us shit is Shinola…that he hasn’t been pissing on our legs for six months but it’s only rain.

  15. DD says

    How long was Truman in office when he racially integrated the military? Was it six months? (I’m genuinely asking – I don’t know the answer.)

  16. redbearded says

    That was all fine and good for the A-list sweater queens and power gays who, without batting a well manicured eyelash, accepted the invitation because it helps them secure their superiority over the rest of us riff-raff.
    This did nothing to reassure the rest of us mo’s that the Obama admin is really going to do anything to give us our goddam rights!
    I can see three and a half years from now Obama saying, “OOPS, We didn’t get around to granting you civil rights this term. Vote for me again and give me more of your money so I can get re-elected and this time I TOTALLY promise to do the things I promised you I would do.” and then 4 years later, “Oh well, sorry guys and gals, better luck with the next guy in office. Thanks for getting me elected though!”

  17. Terry says

    I hope and expect that the checkbooks remain closed to the Democratic Party until THEIR promises to us are acted on. This little get together today doesn’t change a goddamned thing.

  18. JimmyD says

    So… what are all you whiney little bitches doing about this besides posting angry, unfocused comments?
    MICHAEL@LEONARD…. seems to have a great anger without any ideas for solutions. He never claimed he was to be a MESSIAH… YOU DID!!!
    Also: Did Harry Truman begin his Presidency with the volume of pre-existing crap? And, DAVID EHRENSTEIN? Your “make them non-persons” is one of the most infantile things I’ve heard in a long time.
    If I’m not mistaken, Mr Obama ALSO said throughout his campaign, is that we’d ALL NEED TO WORK TOGETHER.
    Many seem to think that now he’s President they can sit back and expect miracles to happen.
    Get off your pissed-off lazy asses and make the changes happen YOURSELF!

  19. MrRoboto says

    Surprised to have at least 4 very good friends on that list. I had no idea. One of them was VERY ANGRY, as I was, the week following the DOMA brief and was calling for boycotts of everything under the sun. Wonder if he was there hoping to have a chance to really speak his mind, or if he managed to get swindled by pretty words?

  20. Joe in SF says

    well, i welcome all these comments, especially the acerbic ones. i get angry many times during an average day, especially when i read about victims of gay bashing or discrimination on this & other gay blogs.

    And i also feel we need to engage with obama and hold him accountable in the end. speaking truth to power is empowering…esp when we have now access. under bush, we did not.

    yes, let’s use our carrots and sticks with obama but, at the same time, not poke each other in the face.

  21. Gregoire says

    I see the pink pitchforks are out and in full use.

    A sitting American president just had a press conference specifically tailored to gay rights and actually acknowledged Stonewall. The last president never even recognized that gay people existed. The president before him actually legislated AGAINST gay people.

    But all of this is obscured by the fact that after six months he still hasn’t waved his magic wand and given every little snippy queen here their own little magic marriage pony.


  22. says

    DD, Truman was in office for three years when he signed the Executive Order 9981 to desegregate the military. It took until 1954 until the desegregation of the military was complete.

  23. Jeff In Boston says

    “Stonewall/AIDS/Clinton Era” generation ought not be generalized about so cavalierly. That generation is just as diverse as any younger ones. some radical. Some insider-y. Some conservative. Some progressive. Dismissing them is just as silly as the older generation dismissing the younger ones through blanket statements. It makes no sense and shows a bit of intellectual childishness no matter how young or old a person is.

  24. loki7329 says

    The facts remains. No progress, no cash. I’m willing to sit out as many elections as it takes for the message to get through. Sometimes for you to win, your “friends” have to lose {a few seats}.

  25. patrick nyc says

    He sure does talk purty, but then again that is what got him elected. I’m sorry but he does not need congress to end DADT, he is a fake.

    Is it just me or does Mrs. O look pissed in that photo?

  26. Jeff In Boston says

    I know 12 people on the list. not a huge number, but of the ones I do know, every one has worked his/her ass off to see that this sort of event happened in the first place — sometimes for decades with no pay and very little in the way of thanks except the knowledge that they are trying to better their little corner of the world. We do need to hold Obama’s feet to the fire, no doubt. And many of these people do this in their own ways. To dismiss all of them as hacks shows a lack of historical perspective and information.

  27. says

    How long Truman had been in office when he racially integrated the military [three years but only after, as Vice President, succeeding FDR who died 82 days into his 4th term] versus how long Obama has been is irrelevant compared to other contrasts.

    The first is that in his six months in office, Obama has done far more controversial things than attempting to advance LGBT equality. Even 59% of Republicans believe DADT should be repealed while, because of what he’s done in terms of the economy, e.g., virtually nationalizing car companies and threatening the future of outrageous profits of the medical insurance/medical industry, etc., 56% of Republicans “strongly disapprove” of his overall job performance.

    Second, the breadth and depth of racism in 1948 DWARFS the degree of homophobia in 2009. Even one of Truman’s closest friends wrote him complaining that he was doing too much for “the niggers.” His mother refused to sleep in the Lincoln bedroom.

    Third, Truman’s order came just three months before he was up for actual election to the Presidency in an economically and sociopolitically turbulent time….one which no one but he seriously thought he could win. The month before, his approval rating was only 39%. The Republicans controlled Congress, and his support for black civil rights nearly destroyed the Democratic Party, with Dixiecrats splitting off to support Strom Thurmond for President.

    By contrast, Obama’s average approval rating among all voters is 55% as of today.
    Given that ongoing popularity and the fact that a MAJORITY of Americans support EVERY gay rights issue except literal “marriage” equality….what’s his excuse for merely treading waters that are more favorable to gay equality than they’ve ever been?

  28. peterparker says

    Okay, wait a gosh darned minute! They invited Andree Leon Talley and Wilson Cruz, but didn’t invite Clay Aiken and Lance Bass?!?! The nerve!!!!!

  29. RB says

    Bill Clinton signed the Anti-Gay discrimination order which banned discrimination in civilian jobs. It “provides a uniform policy for the federal government to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in the federal civilian workforce and states that policy for the first time in an executive order of the president.”

    Yes we got DADT and DOMA, but Clinton made it legal for all of us to hold government jobs! That is huge! I have so many issues with Clinton and I haven’t always been nice about them but he made it ok to be employed and so many here either forget that or are too young to know it! Bill Clinton, NOT Obama, was on our side. He did what he said he would do during his campaign. He waded in chest deep on gays serving in the military almost immediately and got burned but he took the chance. We cannot hate him for trying when Obama hasn’t even uttered one word! I have said this many times and will say it again; Obama gave a good speech thats all. I didn’t drink the Koolaid, I didn’t believe him and I am not surprised. Perhaps in the long run he will be better for gays, but for now, he is NO Bill Clinton! I dare say that he never will be.

  30. says

    I’ll echo Gregoire’s comment: PERSPECTIVE, people.

    Obama certainly deserves criticism from the gay community, and I think it’s perfectly reasonable to withhold our $ from the Democrats and from Obama until words turn into actions, BUT wholesale dismissal of Obama 6 months into his administration is simply counterproductive.

    He said, “It’s not for me to tell you to be patient, any more than it was for others to counsel patience to African Americans who were petitioning for equal rights a half century ago. . . . I want you to know that I expect and hope to be judged not by words, not by promises I’ve made, but by the promises that my administration keeps.” Fair enough. Let’s hold him to that and keep pushing instead of writing him off. If he fails, we’ll hold him accountable in 2012.

    In the meantime, we can be sure that under a Republican administration there would be no broken promises because there would be no promises, period. Acknowledgment without follow-up will indeed prove empty, but acknowledgment is not insignificant given the history of presidential action on gay rights. As we discovered in the long road to marriage equality in VT, petulance doesn’t win supportive politicians over, rational argument and persistence does.

  31. MitchNYC says

    To the one saying that Obama doesn’t need Congress for DADT, read Wikipedia. Such decisions were part of the Presidential portfolio until that law, when Congress took the decision out of the Executive Office’s remit. I guess the Republicans wanted to avoid another Truman-esque integration scenario. Wonder why.

    If Obama ‘waves his magic wand’ and issues an executive order repealing DADT or halts discharges, it’s quite likely that Focus on Family or any other conservative organization could sue him and force a stay on the discharges until it winds its way through court, use it to drum up conservative outrage, get back into Congress etc. We’ve seen this movie and it ended with Bush.

    Sometimes I feel as though I’m watching the Democratic selection campaign all over again with the volume of “empty suit” moaning. The man had one of the most action-packed and successful 100 days in office. Even the WSJ is amazed that he’s been able to get a lot of his agenda done. But he’s still an empty suit. Why is that?

  32. loki7329 says

    MitchNYC, it is precisely because Obama has had such an action-packed and successful 100 days in office that his silence and inaction on lgbt issues irks those of us who supported him through the campaign.

    He has demonstrated what he is capable of accomplishing when he sets his mind to it. He has been able to help move controversial and complex bills through Congress while barely breaking a sweat.

    And yet, the Hate Crimes Bill, which was passed previously in a much more hostile Congress, languishes.

    Obama can move mountains when he chooses to. He has just decided we are not worth the effort.

  33. says

    @ MitchNYC

    Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion about everything but FACTS!

    1. NO ONE serious is claiming that Obama could “repeal” DADT with an executive order.

    2. One assumes you mean “force a stay of the stay on discharges,” but, in any case, groups like Focus on the Family would have no “legal standing” to sue him about an executive order freezing discharges.

    Even Congress wouldn’t have that standing because THEY passed the “stop-loss” law in 1983 to give the President power to determine WHICH laws relative to military service are enforced during times of “national emergency” which by their definition we are in now and expect to be for many years.

    It’s not a magic wand, IT’S A LAW. The problem is Obama was doing magic tricks in the primaries to get gays to actually believe him….or is it that sometime between November 4th and January 20th someone made his balls disappear?

  34. says

    I have mixed feelings about this.

    Firstly, this speech was powerful and eloquent (I would expect nothing less from Obama) and it really must be said that it is HUGELY significant to have a President stand in the White House and CELEBRATE a gay riot from 40 years ago as an important and valid act of necessary social change. NO Republican president would ever be caught dead speaking such words, it just wouldn’t happen.

    I believe the President should have unconditionally apologized for the DOMA brief wording. Not doing so was a terrible mistake. And as I said, I believe he must halt discharges immediately. I fully understand Andy’s decision not to attend and his fervent desire for less words and more action on behalf of this administration on DOMA, ENDA and DADT.

    While I believe Obama should immediately halt discharges until congress acts on ending the legislation (in the same way that some Governors have halted executions while their state investigates the legality and humaneness of them). It is a symbolic act with immediate ramifications and would have a powerful impact on our gay and lesbian armed forces members.

    Importantly, I believe Obama is utterly correct in saying that we shouldn’t make him the enemy. He has made it very clear that he supports the repeal of DOMA and DADT and and he will sign their repeals into law (along with ENDA). We need to focus our collective efforts, our collective voice and our collective power on the Senate and the House, to encourage them to bring DADT, ENDA and DOMA to the floor for a vote. As we’re seeing with Clean Air act and Health Care Reform, nothing will happen without their support, so it’s vital we continue our support of reps and senators who publicly support us and continue to demonstrate to those who don’t that they are on the wrong side of history. If nothing happens from congress, it is congress we need to blame, not the President. Seeing how the Clean Air act is being presented as “historic”, when in reality it is a severely diluted version of Obama’s desired plan, should be a wake up call for us all that we need to work together and become more powerful lobbyists for our community – through lawful acts of protest, by directing our money to those who TRULY support us and by joining together to bring equality to all citizens.

  35. xman says

    It seems to me that the ACLU/GLAAD and the whole GLBT community needs to turn the fire up on our congressmen and women on the HILL. If Prez Obama says that it takes an act of congress to over turn the laws than lets put him at his word and for the Senate and House to pass these bills and get it on his desk.
    Than when the day comes for him to sign these bills to over turn DOMA and DADT if he VETO’s them than we know we have a true politician who LIED to us. Until we keep getting sent from one dept to another much like calling FREAK’N customer service getting tossed around lets put him at what he says and focus our efforts on the LAME DUCK House and Senate.

  36. Michael Lassell says

    If I hear one more LBGT person refer to pressuring the president of the United States for full recognition under the Constitution he is sworn to uphold as “whining,” I’m going to implode in a murderous rage!

  37. SAL says

    Ernie you and Gregoire are nothing but a couple of Uncle Toms! Oh wow a press conference and a speech be still my heart, let me know when he actually ACCOMPLISHES anything for us. Now leave your donations at the door people!

  38. says

    It’s not a “magic wand”…it’s a LAW and NO ONE with any serious knowledge is claiming it would repeal or suspend DADT but only suspend discharges under “stop-loss” which goes back in practice to World War II.

    In 1983, Congress formalized it into 10 United States Code 12305, empowering the President to “suspend ANY provision of law relating to promotion, retirement, or separation applicable to ANY member of the armed forces who the President determines is essential to the national security of the United States.”

    Not only would groups like Focus on the Family have NO “legal standing” to challenge a freeze in court, neither would any member of Congress for he/she would be challenged their own DADT-overriding law.

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid….hardly a Molotov cocktail thrower at legality….has called upon the President to do it until actual repeal can be legislated.

    The only “magic” to debate is who, sometime between November 4th and January 20th…. made Obama’s balls disappear.

  39. Reggie says

    Andy! Is is possible to restrict people who post to only one voice? It seems as if one person posting the same feelings under many aliases cloud and muddy the issues. I believe everyone should have his/her say. But not to the point where it distorts the picture. Or, if that is not possible to restrict, can you make it so that ALL of a persons alias’ are listed in each of their posts. This would improve the overall nature of the comments, IMHO.

  40. Adam says

    You’ve got to at least respect that by publicly reiterating that he wants to be judged by what promises he keeps, he’s setting himself up for epic disdain from an entire community.

    He must know that he’s got to deliver in order to keep this from being a horrible failure. So I can at least appreciate that from this address.

  41. Gabriel says

    “I suspect that by the time this administration is over, I think you guys will have pretty good feelings about the Obama administration. (Applause.)”

    Let’s look at this closely:

    He SUSPECTS [isn’t certain, though]

    that “by the time this administration is over” [in 7 1/2 years, no sooner than he has to]

    that “we guys” [he used this phrase several times — would a white person speaking to the NAACP or LULAC use that condescending phrase?]

    will have “pretty good feelings about” what he’s done [so let’s keep the expectations low].

    Applause. [Hey, this guy sounds great!]

    And what he thinks is empathy borders on condescension. So, okay, he gets it that familes are destroyed by DOMA and careers are unfairly ended DADT. But empathy without some kind of action BY SOMEONE WHO COULD DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT is empty empathy.

    I get it — he’s got a lot on his plate, it’s political capital, there’s only so much he can do so quickly. But I’m not sure he really understands how this hurts so many. There comes a time when even with the best of speeches, talk is cheap, and action speaks louder than words.

  42. Bryan says

    I laughed so hard at this speech that everyone I know under 35 has since accused me of bitterness. (I’m never sure why bitterness following betrayal is regarded as a defect of character. It strikes me as similar to acquired taste aversion toward foods that have made one vomit in the past.)

    I’m actually rather giddy at being able to say, in all seriousness, “Black man speak with forkéd tongue.” It’s much more fun than Clinton, when all I could come up with was “I worry that man is going to fuck Chelsea’s cat.”

  43. Yes I am Chris says

    Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com or Bedwell which ever you choose Boo ;-),

    Your bitching and moaning Boo is something serious. But you need to calm down and just let the process work. And another thing. You keep mentioning polls.

    Be reminded the polls only ask about 2,000 people if that much. Now if you really want to know if America stands with us. Let Obama just act like a bulldozer and give us everything right away. And I can guarantee you that a REPUBLICAN will be in office in 2012 and we as a community cannot afford to be that selfish.

    As I believe that most Americans have become a little more TOLERANT of us. I don’t believe they back us having all of the rights that is bestowed upon ALL americans. But that’s just me.

    It’s going to take time. But it will happen. However, I do wish they stop discharging those gay military servicemen and women. After all they did give their lives in service.

  44. Eric Payne says

    Is it just me… or did the look on the First Lady’s face make it seem she would have preferred to be anywhere but this little soiree? Every video I’ve seen so far, she looks like she’s agonizing over every second she has to be in attendance.

    Is Michelle Obama, possibly, the reason there’s been no activity on any of the campaign promises made by the President?

  45. says

    Does anyone recall the 8 years of the BUSH Administration? the leadership in Congress? the Supreme Court nominees? Liberty University? Faith-based everything?

    Don’t be so sour so soon. Enjoy the fact we have begun a new era & demographic attitudes are changing fast. The President is a good man & I will support and encourage him to follow through on his promises.

    Let the Sunshine.

  46. Joel says

    Well, I am sure those “representatives” of the gay community thought that they were very important because they were there. It was a nice ego trip for them.

    Of course, Obama is doing to the gays the same thing that JFK did to the blacks when he was elected: betrayal. Remember (those of you who study history, or are old enough) how JFK asked for an end to civil rights demonstrations so that he could go to a summit meeting with the Russians and it would appear that the country was unified behind him?

    He had made a lot of promises. There was the “stroke of the pen” campaign promise, where he listed a collection of things that could be done to promote integration through executive orders. Did he sign those orders when he was elected? No. Instead he appointed racist Federal judges in the South.

    Same thing, just different players.

    Civil rights should come first. It should be the foundation of our society, not an add-on. For a more interesting take on this stuff, see


    (PAYOR, PASSWORD) is the ID and Password.

    (Not my site – just something I read.)

  47. patrick nyc says

    what a bunch of bitter tired queens.

    I’d rather be bitter than be a douche bag. As for tired, yea I’m tired. After 27 years of fighting for my rights, and to stop the spread of AIDS, I believed the lip service from this liar. Until he keeps his word he gets nothing but scorn from me.

  48. Robert Mike Pickett says

    I couldn’t watch too much. Obama is a profesional liar. To think I fell for this crap and donated to his campaign. I am so disappointed and angry. I know it’s wrong but I’m starting to think how I can ruin his agenda the same way he ruined ours. I’m a senior citizen and a veteran. I was hoping for GLBT progress before I die. Well, it won’t come from Obama. I’m too old to accept crumbs. Those of you still under his ether need to wake-up and realize this man is NOT our friend.

  49. Ed says

    Sigh…so many comments that have no constructive value at all. Very sad to just see anger with no real ideas and pointing all fingers at Obama.

    Folks, Lewis Payton and XMAN are right and it is pathetic that so many don’t even get that. I an continually calling, I emailing and I writing to my Congresspeople and Obama. I want action and in order for that to happen you have to get off your asses and contact these people and stop trying to make him your enemy because he isn’t.

    Was the DOMA brief wrong, on every level, do we need real action from Obama and Congress…YES. How do we get that action, by doing something and not sitting complaining on the internet.

  50. Joe in SF says

    boys, boys, boys…i am sorry to announce there is no tooth fairy, santa claus, messiah or benevolent daddy. BO can help us in some real ways during his administration but we got to do the heavy lifting of changing minds and hearts in the heartland.

    just like african-americans did with their marches throughout the deep South, we need go to the Fresnoes of this country and dialogue FACE-TO-FACE with people who do not know or understand us. This is really hard work: I worked the polls for the No on 8 campaign in Freemont, a working class suburb of San Jose, on election day and had people verbally offend and assault me all through the day. I couldn’t believe I was in California. But others, especially younger voters, were very supportive and encouraging. Importantly, one poll worker told me it was the first time volunteers from the gay community had shown up at this suburban polling station.

    Right now, the Pro Gay marriage organizations are looking for volunteers to go door-to-door in suburban and rural communities were we lost on Prop 8. So if you really want to channel your anger in a productive way, get out of your armchair and have the courage to meet face-to-face with suburban voters only 20 miles away (or dialogue with the President when invites us to the White House). This will lead to real change…and make you feel more powerful at the same time. Yes, the President can help (and needs to be held accountable), but we need to be the drivers of change on this issue.

  51. Raymond Decelles-Smith says

    I will answer your question. Harry Truman succeeded to the presidency when FDR died in his fourth term of office. Truman was vice president for only a few months in 1945 when he succeeded to the presidency. In 1946, the Republicans won the Congress for the first time in 16 years, and the Senate was also Republican. The GOP was ready to renominate Thomas E. Dewey of NY, FDR’s fourth term opponent of 1944, in 1948.

    The racist Dixiecrats were then members of the Democratic party. Strom Thurmond was ready to run as a “Dixiecrat” against Truman. TRUMAN HAD INTEGRITY AS WELL AS COJONES. He integrated the military nearly twenty years before Loving v Virginia.

    Clinton changed the military banning of gays from a mere Executive Order to a congressional law. It would take a Congressional law to change it. However, he could stop the discharges today if he wanted to do so. The truth is that he does not want to spend the capital and fears a loss in 2010 congressional elections….making a second term problematic.

  52. says

    Sal, I hate to break it to you, but change doesn’t come about by inaccurately labeling fellow gay men Uncle Toms. Change comes about by intelligently using leverage, including financial leverage, with typically slow-moving politicians. It means being persistent and articulate advocates for our rights, for calling out and protesting the President when he’s wrong (DOJ brief, Rick Warren etc.), acknowledging that positive promises are better than no promises and forcefully holding him to them. Working with the administration we’ve got isn’t letting them off the hook, it’s called political reality. Aimless bitching doesn’t deliver rights, targeted strategies do.

  53. Ted B. (Charging Rhino) says

    Blah, blah, blah…. Not only has the whole G/L agenda been thrown under the bus, the professional Gay ATMs stood around enjoyed Presidential canapes and cocktails while admiring the tread-marks.

    …And still Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach will be fired 6-months before he’s eligible for his USAF pension under DADT based on a rumor that he MIGHT be gay.

  54. dc8stretch says

    Take a look at the guest list- If a couple internet millionaires, a reality show contestant, a fashionista, a Logo actor and a smattering of politicos are our ‘best and brightest’, no wonder we’re getting nowhere.

  55. Timmeeeyyy says

    We Stonewall/AIDS/Clinton Era gays are happy to step down in the fight for equality as the next generation steps up. But at this point, the struggle still needs everyone focused on securing our rights. We’re not perpetually bitter, we simply know that promises are not enough. It takes action that can be seen and heard. Those who are silent are not heard.

  56. Nicole says

    Okay, I admit I didn’t make it through all the comments..halfway down page three, my eyes started crossing so I apologize if this has already been said.

    My views as far as not writing Obama off after only six months and that we need to be more pro-active in gaining the equality deserved as opposed to simply complaining that it’s not happening fast enough have already been covered extensively. So, I’ll simply say I agree with the sentiment and cover one point I didn’t read about that I find important.

    LOKI7329 stated they were willing to sit out a few elections to cost Democrats seats if necessary to make the point. I also feel like many others share a similar view even if it is not expressly stated. I strongly disagree with this attitude. We can’t forget that, despite the failings on the Democratic party on some counts, we would much rather have Obama in office than McCain. And, we would much rather have a Democratic Congress than a Republican one. The only people we’re helping by withholding votes and keeping the people at least partially supporting the LGBT movement out of office are opponents of everything we’re trying to accomplish. And, that does no one (except the religious zealots and Focus on the Family style groups) any good. So just remember before you boycott the polls that every time a Democrat (aka someone who at least gives lip service to gay rights generally) loses, a Republican gets their spot (aka someone forcefully and vocally opposed to gay rights generally).

  57. Kyle says


    Clapping at every sugary sweet word–BUT NO ACTION?

    There is SUCH a disconnect between the Uncle Toms in the gay “community” and the actual gay community.

    Another photo op. Hooray! And these Uncle Toms get to put their photo with him on their mantle.

    They should be ashamed of themselves for not holding his feet to the fire.

  58. Marcia says

    Brilliant strategy: Do nothing on LGBT rights, then insult them comparing them to child rapists and people commit incest, do 180 degree turns on all your promises to the LGBT community, and then invite a hundred or so sycophants to applaud every empty line.


    This makes me vomit.

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