Obama Speaks at LGBT Pride Reception at the White House: VIDEO

REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
AT LGBT PRIDE MONTH RECEPTION
 
East Room
 
5:16 P.M. EDT
 
 
     THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, hello, hello!  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Thank you, everybody.  Thank you so much.  Well, thank you very much.
 
Well, welcome to the White House, everybody.  (Applause.)  We are glad all of you could join us today.  I want to thank the members of Congress and the members of my administration who are here, including our friends who are doing outstanding work every day — John Berry, Nancy Sutley, Fred Hochberg.  (Applause.) 
 
Now, each June since I took office, we have gathered to pay tribute to the generations of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans who devoted their lives to our most basic of ideals –- equality not just for some, but for all.  Together we’ve marked major milestones like the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, when a group of brave citizens held their ground against brutal discrimination.  Together, we’ve honored courageous pioneers who, decades ago, came out and spoke out; who challenged unjust laws and destructive prejudices.  Together, we’ve stood resolute; unwavering in our commitment to advance this movement and to build a more perfect union.
 
Now, I’ve said before that I would never counsel patience; that it wasn’t right to tell you to be patient any more than it was right for others to tell women to be patient a century ago, or African Americans to be patient a half century ago.  After decades of inaction and indifference, you have every reason and right to push, loudly and forcefully, for equality.  (Applause.)
 
But three years ago, I also promised you this: I said that even if it took more time than we would like, we would see progress, we would see success, we would see real and lasting change.  And together, that’s what we’re witnessing. 
 
For every person who lost a loved one at the hand of hate, we ended a decade of delay and finally made the Matthew Shepard Act the land of the law.  (Applause.)  For every person with HIV who was treated like an outcast, we lifted the HIV entry ban.  (Applause.)  And because of that important step, next month, for the first time in more than two decades, the International AIDS conference will be held right here in the United States.  (Applause.)
 
For every American diagnosed with HIV who couldn’t get access to treatment, we put forward a National HIV/AIDS strategy — because who you are should never affect whether you get life-extending care.  Marjorie Hill, the head of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, is here.  (Applause.)  GMHC has saved so many lives, and this year they are celebrating their 30th anniversary.  So I want to give them and all these organizations who work to prevent and treat HIV a big round of applause.  Give it up for Marjorie and everybody else.  (Applause.)
 
For every partner or spouse denied the chance to comfort a loved one in the hospital, to be by their side at their greatest hour of need, we said, enough.  Hospitals that accept Medicare or Medicaid -– and that is most of them -– now have to treat LGBT patients just like any other patient.  For every American denied insurance just for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, we passed health insurance reform, which will ban that kind of discrimination.  (Applause.)
 
We’ve expanded benefits for same-sex partners of federal employees, prohibited discrimination on the basis of gender identity for workers in the federal government.  (Applause.)  We’ve supported efforts in Congress to end the so-called Defense of Marriage Act.  (Applause.)  And as we wait for that law to be cast aside, we’ve stopped defending its constitutionality in the courts.  (Applause.)
 
We’ve put forward a strategy to promote and protect the rights of LGBT communities all over the world, because, as Secretary Clinton said back in December, gay rights are human rights.  (Applause.)
 
And, of course, last year we finally put an end to “don’t ask, don’t tell” — (applause) — so that nobody would ever have to ever again hide who they love in order to serve the country they love.  And I know we've got some military members who are here today.  (Applause.)  I'm happy to see you with your partners here.  We thank you for your service.  We thank your families for their service, and we share your joy at being able to come with your spouses or partners here to the White House with your Commander-in-Chief.  (Applause.)
 
Now, we know we've got more to do.  Americans may feel more comfortable bringing their partners to the office barbecue — (laughter) — but we're still waiting for a fully inclusive employment non-discrimination act.  (Applause.)  Congress needs to pass that legislation, so that no American is ever fired simply for being gay or transgender.
 
Americans may be able serve openly in the military, but many are still growing up alone and afraid; picked on, pushed around for being different.  And that’s why my administration has worked to raise awareness about bullying.  And I know — I just had a chance to see Lee Hirsch, the director of BULLY, who is here.  And we thank him for his work on this issue.  (Applause.)

I want to acknowledge all the young leaders here today who are making such a big difference in their classrooms and in their communities.  And Americans may be still evolving when it comes to marriage equality — (laughter and applause) — but as I've indicated personally, Michelle and I have made up our minds on this issue.  (Applause.)
 
So we still have a long way to go, but we will get there.  We'll get there because of all of you.  We’ll get there because of all of the ordinary Americans who every day show extraordinary courage.  We’ll get there because of every man and woman and activist and ally who is moving us forward by the force of their moral arguments, but more importantly, by the force of their example.
 
And as long as I have the privilege of being your President, I promise you, you won't just have a friend in the White House, you will have a fellow advocate — (applause) — for an America where no matter what you look like or where you come from or who you love, you can dream big dreams and dream as openly as you want.
 
Thank you.  God bless you.  God bless America.  (Applause.)

Comments

  1. IonMusic says

    I seriously teared up and I’m not a crier. This was touching, especially for anyone has has been gay/lesbian/bisexual or transgender and dealt with the hardship of it, and yet came out with pride in who they are and comfortable in their skin today. This means a great deal to have the understanding of our President.

  2. says

    For Harvey Milk… every anti gay hate crime victim… every gay man and lesbian women who has past, but in the 40s, 50s and 1960s/70s lived in an anti gay atmosphere and said “this is who I am and I’m not altering it”..for all the bullied gay kids who were tortured daily…and the gay people dragged in Russia, gay kids stoned in Iran and gay couples beat to death in Africa…I hope all your souls are watching over this moment. The President of the United States giving a powerful speech on the importance of being proud and happy with who you are. That pride could NOT have been made possible without the courage of those I mentioned earlier who had to be sacrificed for us to be where we are today.

    Fantastic video.

  3. Steve-ATL says

    I think we as gay adults all have a responsibility to make this society a more accepting, tolerant and loving one for the next generation of gays. Our gay youth deserve to be living in a society that recognizes who they inherently are is just as worthy of fairness, protection, rights and respect. That their love is equal to the love of their straight counter parts. Our previous generations of gays made this happen for us. We should all do what we can to promote the message of inclusiveness and our rights when we can and where we can.

  4. Happy says

    If I read about one more adult “tearing up” I’m going to puke. Just because this President has marinated himself in queer, doesn’t mean those same forces that hate us aren’t still out there. This is all happening in an insular fashion. Obama’s little get the gay vote side show. Where was he for four years? Hey, there’s even talk of legalizing pot. Everything’s on the table now with our whatever it takes to get elected President. Think.

  5. Real Talk says

    Happy, like a sick sad study on irony, you sound like a miserable, jaded, bitter bat. Accept that you can’t recognize a triumph when there is one, and move out the way.

    Actually, come to think of it…maybe your one of those who resents gay rights making progress? Yeah. I guess I should have recognized the fake hysteria earlier. The rest of us will celebrate this while your side weeps.

  6. william says

    Everything he does is always in good intentions. I think he looked a little “off” from some of his speeches he’s done in the past. It wasn’t necessarily like he looked uncomfortable….but maybe like he didn’t practice it before hand? I don’t know.

    But all in all, I think it’s pretty awesome that he did this. Like he said, we still have a long way to go, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

  7. bandanajack says

    this is a large part of what i have been fighting for for the past half century of living as an openly gay man.

    those of you that choose to cavil and excoriate… can go suck it.

  8. M. Scott Hernandez says

    He will talk himself out on the next election. America hates gays and illegals.

  9. GeorgeM says

    This could be the last pride speech from a president in a long time if he’s not re elected. Romney won’t do it he’s not man enough. But I bet Romney will have ex-gays at the white house.

    Happy you really are an angry gay

  10. Happy says

    Real Talk: You don’t know me you pompous ass. Suddenly I have to be “miserable.” Barf. Life was better before gays became an “oppressed minority’ to further their cause. Towle Rode prints it like their way or the highway. I can’t respect that but you taking the world down on your poo- sh–t express, pushing god knows what?
    You must confess it’s a hard sell.

  11. Happy says

    Real Talk: You don’t know me you pompous ass. Suddenly I have to be “miserable.” Barf. Life was better before gays became an “oppressed minority’ to further their cause. Towle Rode prints it like their way or the highway. I can’t respect that but you taking the world down on your poo- sh–t express, pushing god knows what?
    You must confess it’s a hard sell.

  12. Happy says

    Real Talk: You don’t know me you pompous ass. Suddenly I have to be “miserable.” Barf. Life was better before gays became an “oppressed minority’ to further their cause. Towle Rode prints it like their way or the highway. I can’t respect that but you taking the world down on your poo- sh–t express, pushing god knows what?
    You must confess it’s a hard sell.

  13. GeorgeM says

    You don’t think in some way the community is oppressed? I agree we don’t have to be victims but society does hold us differently

  14. Twenty13 says

    Gays love to re-decorate and create new looks. Let’s put this tiresome period behind us, and prepare for a new focus. Enough babies and weddings. Time to grow up — The Romney Years. Since when did gays care who was President? Mr. False Promises has got to go. Does your life hang on your sacred “right” to be stuck with the same person every night. Gay guys are free. Let’s keep it that way.we need to get back to our roots, and to hell with gay suburban dreams, Love many, or have to lie to one. You think I’m kidding?

  15. StoilCrans says

    I don’t respect his pandering of illegal immigrants, but I do respect the President for this. Gay rights and our equality need to be further than the ‘rights’ of illegal residents. He needs to make he ENDA creates an atmosphere where gays will be discriminated no more, and that marriage equality is federally approached.

  16. Kyle says

    @ Happy: can you get a terminal diseas and die already? Or do you already have one, hence the bitterness.

  17. KevinFan says

    A Gay Pride event in the White House before the Presidential election….

    GAYS HAVE ARRIVED baby. We’re here to stay and we’ve won the culture war.

  18. Matt26 says

    Well put Mr President! Thank you!
    @Kevinfan, yeah!
    @Happy, bad day?
    @M.ScottHernandez, I would say small minority hates (strong word that hate is).

  19. Brandon Morgan says

    This was truly a life goal to attend a meeting of this magnitude at the white house. It was one of the biggest honors I have ever received in my life and to think I got invited because I just kissed my boyfriend when I came home from deployment. I didn’t get to meet him personally or shake his hand but I was no more than 10 feet away from him when he acknowledged openly gay active duty military members. He even looked right at me when he made his comments above about us. He is a wonderful Commander and Chief, here is too 4 more years!

  20. elg/edwin says

    None of this will matter if President Obama is not reelected this November.

    If Romney is elected president of the U.S. this fall, everything that Obama is doing/has done for LGBT people will be reversed. Under a Romney administration, religious “leaders” who endorse the killing of gay people will be regulars at the White House.

  21. Gus says

    All you twenty or thirty something GoPods out there, just STFU. You have come out of your gilded walk-in closets at a time when there can be a White House reception. Something unimaginable when I came out in the 1970’s. You bet there are going to be tears, bitches. Shove a rainbow up your ass.

  22. MarkUs says

    I wonder if at Anna Wintour and Sarah Jessica’s party he walked around saying “God bless you” to everyone.

  23. CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON says

    Louis Farrakhan WAS RIGHT. THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA HAS ITS FIRST “gay” PRESIDENT. NEGRO MALES OF AMERICA – NOW, DO YOU SEE WHO YOU ARE SUPPORTING? SINCE BEING KIDNAPPED AND BROUGHT HERE IN CHAINS, WE HAVE STRUGGLED FOR OUR MANHOOD. NOW, THIS EMBARASSING FOOL HAS DESTROYED EVERYTHING “AFRICAN” ABOUT HIMSELF IN ORDER TO GET A “PAT ON THE HEAD” BY A GROUP OF DEVIATES WHO HATE US.

    CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON

  24. CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON says

    “HAPPY” (15 JUNE; 9:31:46 PM),

    THANKS FOR BRINGING COMMON SENSE TO THE TABLE. I JUST WATCHED THIS VIDEO. THE EXPRESSIONS ON THIS BIRACIAL PRESIDENT’S FACE DURING HIS SPEECH WERE REVEALING. HE LOOKED LIKE HE WAS IN PAIN DURING THE ENTIRE SPEECH. THERE WAS NO PASSION IN HIS VOICE. HE REALLY WANTS TO GET RE-ELECTED – BAD!

    CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON

  25. CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON says

    “TWENTY13,”

    THANK YOU, SIR! BEING MALE HOMOSEXUAL IS ABOUT “RAW” SEX. PERIOD. YOU CAN GROW OLD WITH ANOTHER MALE WITHOUT MARRYING HIM. BUT, IF YOU WANT TO HAVE A DIFFERENT PARTNER EVERY NIGHT THAT IS FINE, TOO.

    CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON

  26. CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON says

    DAVID EHRENSTEIN,

    CALLING ME A TROLL MEANS YOU HAVE NOTHING TO SAY. I DO NOT HAVE TO STOOP TO NAME CALLING. IF YOU SAY SOMETHING I DISAGREE WITH, I WILL ADDRESS YOU BY NAME AND STATE MY CASE. ON THIS SITE, CALLING SOMEONE “TROLL” REPRESENTS FEAR.

    CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON

  27. disgusted american says

    wow – someone really thinks they’re special – don’t they? C.A.H.?

  28. Happy says

    Kyle: I often read here that gays want anyone who disagrees with them dead. That being the knee jerk response. In the ’80’s many did die of a “terminal” disease — AIDS. I speak for them, and not this freakish mutation of gays ever — the worst generation. Even in satire, you can’t handle diversity. And guess what? One day you will be dead.

  29. Twenty13 says

    Christopher Allen Horton: Thank you for your comments and reality. No one can disagree with today’s. They’re worse than vindicive Junior High girls, but being the clones they are, they are best ignored. Obama is investing a lot in gays, he will discover — at a high cost.

  30. GeorgeM says

    Raw sex is all its about?

    What’s the high cost in what he doing?

    What’s wrong with this generation of gays?

    Being real please explain

  31. GeorgeM says

    Markus you have yet to tell us what this country will be like under mittens?

    What will he roll back first?

  32. GeorgeM says

    This is what I’m thinking

    I’m thinking for us gay folks not that great. Exgay meetings at the white house. Reversal of pro gay orders, maybe DADT again, a fight for a constitutional amendment, religion in every office of the white house, a presidential commission on harassment of pro marriage folks (like he promised), no ENDA, no safe school legislation with lgbt inclusion and so on
    But Hell you’ll have f-ck you money in the bank. God knows that’s what matters

  33. Shaniqua Latronda says

    You black people with your drugs and disgusting behavior are what is wrong with this country. You are always slaves and will always be slaves, don’t ever compare yourself to us gays. We don’t move to neighborhoods and make them worse off. You guys are bacteria.

  34. Becky Beckinson says

    Shaniqua Latronda wrote:
    “We don’t move to neighborhoods and make them worse off. You guys are bacteria.”

    No, you just hang out in park bushes and (speaking of bacteria) public restrooms stalls tapping your foot, hoping to run into any other guy equally desperate enough to give you a seedy, 2 minute, ejaculatory thrill…or oblivious enough to let you watch them take a dump. You take jobs as priests and school coaches, pretending to be wholesome and upstanding community leaders, while secretly plotting to pray on father-less boys, with the goal of getting them alone long enough to con them into letting you touch them in an inappropriate place.

  35. andrew says

    Just one more reason that all LGBT people and those who support them should vote Obama/Biden in November. Vote as if your future depended on it: because it does.

  36. UFFDA says

    BRANDON – thanks for commenting, glad you were there, the man who’s kiss was seen round the world! Yay!

  37. CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON says

    “TWENTY13,”

    THANKS FOR HAVING MY BACK. PEOPLE ON THIS SITE LOVE TO CALL OTHERS TROLLS WHEN SOMETHING IS SAID THEY DO NOT LIKE. I THINK Andy Towle IS GRATEFUL FOR HAVING PEOPLE PARTICIPATING ON HIS BLOG ON A REGULAR BASIS. IF PEOPLE STOP, Mr. Towle WOULD HAVE TO “CLOSE SHOP.”

    CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON

  38. CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON says

    “GEORGEM,”

    “RAW” SEX BOTHERS YOU BECAUSE YOU ARE ONE OF THOSE MALE HOMOSEXUALS WHO BECOMES UNCOMFORTABLE WHEN HETEROSEXUALS SAY, “The only thing gay men care about is anonymous sex with multiple partners; that’s why they got AIDS!”

    CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON

  39. CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON says

    “SHANIQUA LATRONDA,”

    I K-N-O-W Y-O-U DID NOT SAY, “You black people…,” WITH A NAME LIKE, “SHANIQUA LATRONDA” – A “GHETTO CITY” NAME IF I EVER HEARD ONE. I ASSUME YOU ARE A “transvestite.” I DO NOT APPRECIATE YOUR “SLICK” REFERENCE TO Senator Larry Craig – A GREAT AMERICAN.

    CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON

  40. CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON says

    CORRECTION – BECKY BECKINSON MADE THE “tapping your foot” REFERENCE [Senator Craig]. I WAS SO PISSED-OFF AT SHANIQUA LATRONDA, I GOT THE COMMENTS MINGLED.

    CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON