Barack Obama | Morehouse College | News

Obama Tells All-Male Morehouse College Grads: 'Be the Best Husband to your Boyfriend...or Your Partner' - VIDEO


The crowd at the Morehouse College commencement ceremony over the weekend seemed momentarily stunned when Obama directed the gay men in the audience to be the best husband to their partners, but Obama held up one finger and stifled any dissent:

And that’s what I’m asking all of you to do:  Keep setting an example for what it means to be a man.  Be the best husband to your wife, or you’re your boyfriend, or your partner.  Be the best father you can be to your children.  Because nothing is more important.


Shortly thereafter, Obama told the all-male African-American institution's 2013 grads to have empathy with other minority populations like Hispanic and Muslim Americans, and gays:

As Morehouse Men, many of you know what it’s like to be an outsider; know what it’s like to be marginalized; know what it’s like to feel the sting of discrimination.  And that’s an experience that a lot of Americans share.  Hispanic Americans know that feeling when somebody asks them where they come from or tell them to go back.  Gay and lesbian Americans feel it when a stranger passes judgment on their parenting skills or the love that they share.  Muslim Americans feel it when they’re stared at with suspicion because of their faith.  Any woman who knows the injustice of earning less pay for doing the same work -- she knows what it’s like to be on the outside looking in.

So your experiences give you special insight that today’s leaders need.  If you tap into that experience, it should endow you with empathy -- the understanding of what it’s like to walk in somebody else’s shoes, to see through their eyes, to know what it’s like when you're not born on 3rd base, thinking you hit a triple.  It should give you the ability to connect.  It should give you a sense of compassion and what it means to overcome barriers.

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  1. you had betta WERK!

    well met, Mr. President. thank you.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | May 20, 2013 11:48:20 AM

  2. Amen

    Posted by: Mike | May 20, 2013 11:51:20 AM

  3. That man is a breath of fresh air in a world that has a lot of hate swirling around.

    Posted by: mike | May 20, 2013 11:53:28 AM

  4. I can't imagine what it would have been like to hear this from a commencement speaker when I was in school. Wow.

    Posted by: Ben Nevis | May 20, 2013 11:56:45 AM

  5. He really means it.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | May 20, 2013 11:58:04 AM

  6. A Man of Honor and true Integrity

    Posted by: Bill | May 20, 2013 12:04:06 PM

  7. We're always and ever proud of you, Mr. President!

    Posted by: mic | May 20, 2013 12:06:48 PM

  8. It's so refreshing to see witness a break in the "whole lotta ugly comin' at you from a never ending parade of stupid". (Hairspray)

    Posted by: Richard | May 20, 2013 12:07:34 PM

  9. Try M A R R I A G E for a stable family.

    Posted by: Ryan | May 20, 2013 12:19:57 PM

  10. Pretty cool words from the Presidents mouth.

    Posted by: Tom | May 20, 2013 12:23:22 PM

  11. TALK TALK TALK. How about some WALK, Mr. President? Back up telling them what THEY should do by doing more YOURSELF such as keeping YOUR four-years overdue promise to order the some 3000 federal contractors not to discriminate against LGBTs the way FDR ordered federal contractors not to discriminate against blacks—AND the way YOU ordered federal government agencies in 2009 not to discriminate against those transgendered. Stop gutlessly hiding behind the phony excuse that "ENDA would be better." Of course it would, but that didn't stop FDR from waiting for a federal law. Should YOUR OWN PEOPLE have been content to be discriminated against for 21 more years until the 1964 Civil Rights Act could be passed. Hell, you're not even doing anything to keep another promise to BACK UP your second term excuse about not signing such a order:

    “As President, I will place the weight of my administration behind the enactment of a fully inclusive Employment Non Discrimination Act to outlaw workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.” The issue is NOT whether this Congress WOULD pass ENDA [it wouldn't], but that you've done nothing to help turn to soil for a future harvest. It's bad enough that you're not doing anything to help ENDA advance—you're that it hasn't as a shameless excuse NOT to do something YOU can do WITHOUT Congressional approval.

    And how about that TALK in your second inaugural speech in January about honoring gay couples when you still haven't kept your promise from your FIRST campaign to order gay nondiscrimination policies IN the military post repeal? NOTHING about DOMA bans a gay couple from living in military family housing, but yet YOUR Defense Department still arbitrarily forbids it just as they do the right of the civilian spouse of a gay or lesbian soldier from being buried in a national cemetery as any heterosexual spouse can.

    What were your words again here? Ah, yes—"empathy" and "a sense of compassion."

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | May 20, 2013 12:30:08 PM

  12. Muslims?

    Posted by: David Hearne | May 20, 2013 12:31:26 PM

  13. I listened to the whole speech from another room and when I heard those words "be the best husband you can be to your wife ..." I took a short breath of disappointment but he followed it with "... your boyfriend, your partner ..." and I was overwhelmed with emotion. In my whole life I never thought I would hear such words from a sitting President. My respect for him (and Michelle) is enormous.

    Posted by: Mike Ryan | May 20, 2013 12:35:29 PM

  14. He's the best president of the modern era, he's the Democrat's Reagan. But he's more effective and his legacy will endure longer.

    Posted by: sundayboy | May 20, 2013 12:37:25 PM

  15. Can anyone imagine Mitt saying that?!? Much less Mitt even finding his way on to that Campus?? Not likely.

    I think we would all enjoy hearing the thoughts of GOProud and Log Cabin crowd on this one....

    Posted by: Mike in nyc | May 20, 2013 12:43:39 PM

  16. Can anyone imagine Mitt saying that?!? Much less Mitt even finding his way on to that Campus?? Not likely.

    I think we would all enjoy hearing the thoughts of GOProud and Log Cabin crowd on this one....

    Posted by: Mike in nyc | May 20, 2013 12:43:40 PM

  17. This is called leadership.

    (Very, very, very different from a certain extremely shallow, privileged jerk who probably did, in fact, forceably cut that gay kid's hair.)

    Posted by: taxpayer | May 20, 2013 12:47:12 PM

  18. Wow!

    Posted by: Matt26 | May 20, 2013 12:55:54 PM

  19. Wow. Thank you President Obama. In both word and deed, this president has worked for my rights more than any other president in history. While I will always advocate for more to be done where it can be done, I'm also mindful of the importance of recognizing progress when it exists. And here it clearly does.

    Posted by: Lars | May 20, 2013 12:56:07 PM

  20. "The Democrat's Reagan"???? Hell's bells, as critical as I am of him, what a horrible thought. And unless Obama finds a cure for AIDS nothing else we can imagine him doing will last as long as Reagan's legacy: tens of millions of deaths from AIDS and tens of millions of HIV infections because he and his thugs did virtually nothing while it exploded around the world.

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | May 20, 2013 12:58:01 PM

  21. This is beautiful to watch. I do try to live in the moment and I'm grateful for the salient changes in the culture. THIS is how it should be. We aren't looking for special treatment, just to be included as part of the whole. But still I have this nagging dread it all comes to an end when the next republican is elected. It's strange how we live in this cusp time where we can have a President so adamently gay-friendly on the one hand and also in the same week conservatives who run adamently against our interests.

    Posted by: will | May 20, 2013 1:00:50 PM

  22. @Mike Ryan...I thought exactly the same thing.
    For me, at my ripe old age, this is nothing short of a miracle. To be here today, listening to our president say these words is delicious. I can't express what it feels like to have lived to see & hear this about who I am & was born to be.

    Posted by: PAUL B. | May 20, 2013 1:05:21 PM

  23. Ballsy quote by Obama. I'm sure it didn't go over well.

    Posted by: sean | May 20, 2013 1:30:11 PM

  24. LOL @ the guy even mentioning the idea of Mitt ever going to Morehouse. No way in HELL he would have gone there, and rest assured he'd have nothing supportive to say about gays at all.
    One thing about Obama is that you can tell he truly sees gays as human beings. Even some gay men themselves can't see it that way.

    Posted by: LJAY | May 20, 2013 1:46:16 PM

  25. "Ballsy quote by Obama. I'm sure it didn't go over well. "

    Sean, you are the most Black-hating Korean I've ever come across. We have 4 Korean professors where I work and I get along well with all of them. Not to mention my lottery man--he seems to like me a lot (I wish he was Vietnamese, Laotian or Thai--I think they're extra sexy).

    You certainly hate Blacks. What did we do to you, honey? Or what didn't we do :-)

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | May 20, 2013 1:56:44 PM

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