Barack Obama | Gay Pride | News

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


Here's video of Obama's LGBT Pride speech at the reception today at the White House, which appears to have been well recorded on hundreds of iPhones.

Video, and full transcript, AFTER THE JUMP...

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.)

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  1. Beautiful!

    Posted by: Dynex | Jun 15, 2012 9:03:12 PM

  2. 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.

    Posted by: IonMusic | Jun 15, 2012 9:04:33 PM

  3. 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.

    Posted by: USC Trojan Fan | Jun 15, 2012 9:08:09 PM

  4. 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.

    Posted by: Steve-ATL | Jun 15, 2012 9:10:53 PM

  5. 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.

    Posted by: Happy | Jun 15, 2012 9:31:46 PM

  6. 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.

    Posted by: Real Talk | Jun 15, 2012 9:38:57 PM

  7. 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.

    Posted by: william | Jun 15, 2012 9:46:38 PM

  8. 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.

    Posted by: bandanajack | Jun 15, 2012 9:59:14 PM

  9. What are those camera viewscreens seeing that I'm not seeing? They're all blue!

    Posted by: Randy | Jun 15, 2012 10:11:33 PM

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

    Posted by: M. Scott Hernandez | Jun 15, 2012 10:19:06 PM

  11. 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

    Posted by: GeorgeM | Jun 16, 2012 12:05:14 AM

  12. 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.

    Posted by: Happy | Jun 16, 2012 12:05:15 AM

  13. 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.

    Posted by: Happy | Jun 16, 2012 12:09:43 AM

  14. 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.

    Posted by: Happy | Jun 16, 2012 12:09:53 AM

  15. 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

    Posted by: GeorgeM | Jun 16, 2012 12:11:39 AM

  16. Ugh. Can't wait to vote for Romney in November.

    Posted by: Avenger | Jun 16, 2012 1:20:09 AM

  17. The president virtually obscured by iPhones. How gay is that?

    Posted by: Jcrayst | Jun 16, 2012 1:24:48 AM

  18. Avenger Why?

    Posted by: GeorgeM | Jun 16, 2012 1:34:51 AM

  19. 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?

    Posted by: Twenty13 | Jun 16, 2012 2:32:48 AM

  20. 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.

    Posted by: StoilCrans | Jun 16, 2012 3:06:21 AM

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

    Posted by: Kyle | Jun 16, 2012 3:07:38 AM

  22. 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.

    Posted by: KevinFan | Jun 16, 2012 3:10:16 AM

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

    Posted by: Matt26 | Jun 16, 2012 3:49:07 AM

  24. 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!

    Posted by: Brandon Morgan | Jun 16, 2012 5:19:11 AM

  25. 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.

    Posted by: elg/edwin | Jun 16, 2012 6:00:43 AM

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