Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-09-16
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Obama's remarks at the White House's June 29 LGBT reception
News update posted Wed., June 29, 2011

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email




East Room

6:00 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody! (Applause.) Welcome to the White House. (Applause.)

Nothing ruins a good party like a long speech from a politician. (Laughter.) So I'm going to make a short set of remarks here. I appreciate all of you being here. I have learned a lesson: Don't follow Potomac Fever -- (laughter) -- because they sounded pretty good.

We've got community leaders here. We've got grassroots organizers. We've got some incredible young people who are just doing great work all across the country -— folks who are standing up against discrimination, and for the rights of parents and children and partners and students --


THE PRESIDENT: -- and spouses. (Applause.) You're fighting for the idea that everyone ought to be treated equally and everybody deserves to be able to live and love as they see fit. (Applause.)

Now, I don't have to tell the people in this room we've got a ways to go in the struggle, how many people are still denied their basic rights as Americans, who are still in particular circumstances treated as second-class citizens, or still fearful when they walk down the street or down the hall at school. Many of you have devoted your lives to the cause of equality. So you all know that we've got more work to do.

But I think it's important for us to note the progress that's been made just in the last two and a half years. I just want everybody to think about this. (Applause.) It was here, in the East Room, at our first Pride reception, on the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, a few months after I took office, that I made a pledge, I made a commitment. I said that I would never counsel patience; it wasn't right for me to tell you to be patient any more than it was right for folks to tell African Americans to be patient in terms of their freedoms. I said it might take time to get everything we wanted done. But I also expected to be judged not by the promises I made, but the promises I kept.

Now, let's just think about it. I met with Judy Shepard. I promised her we'd pass an inclusive hate crimes law, named after her son, Matthew. And with the help of Ted Kennedy and others, we got it done and I signed the bill. (Applause.)

I met Janice Lang-ben, who was barred from the bedside of the woman she loved as she lay dying, and I told her we were going to put a stop to that discrimination. And I issued an order so that any hospital in America that accepts Medicare or Medicaid —- and that means just about every hospital in America -— has to treat gay partners just as they have to treat straight partners. Nobody in America should have to produce a legal contract. (Applause.)

I said we'd lift the HIV travel ban. We got that done. (Applause.) We put in place the first national strategy to fight HIV/AIDS. (Applause.)

A lot of people said we weren't going to be able to get "don't ask, don't tell" done, including a bunch of people in this room. (Laughter.) And I just met Sue Fulton, who was part of the first class of women at West Point, and is an outstanding advocate for gay service members. It took two years through Congress -— working with Admiral Mullen and Secretary Gates and the Pentagon. We had to hold together a fragile coalition. We had to keep up the pressure. But the bottom line is we got it done. And in a matter of weeks, not months, I expect to certify the change in policy —- and we will end "don't ask, don't tell" once and for all. (Applause.)

I told you I was against the Defense -- so-called Defense of Marriage Act. I've long supported efforts to pass a repeal through Congress. And until we reach that day, my administration is no longer defending DOMA in the courts. The law is discriminatory. It violates the Constitution. It's time for us to bring it to an end. (Applause.)

So bottom line is, I've met my commitments to the LGBT community. I have delivered on what I promised. Now, that doesn't mean our work is done. There are going to be times where you're still frustrated with me. (Laughter.) I know there are going to be times where you're still frustrated at the pace of change. I understand that. I know I can count on you to let me know. (Laughter and applause.) This is not a shy group. (Laughter.)

But what I also know is that I will continue to fight alongside you. And I don't just mean as an advocate. You are moms and dads who care about the schools that your children go to. You're students who are trying to figure out how to pay for going to college. You're folks who are looking for good jobs to pay the bills. You're Americans who want this country to prosper. So those are your fights, too. And the fact is these are hard days for America. So we've got a lot of work to do to, not only on ending discrimination; we've got a lot of work to do to live up to the ideals on which we were founded, and to preserve the American Dream in our time -— for everybody, whether they're gay or straight or lesbian or transgender.

But the bottom line is, I am hopeful. I'm hopeful because of the changes we've achieved just in these past two years. Think about it. It's astonishing. Progress that just a few years ago people would have thought were impossible. And more than that, what gives me hope is the deeper shift that we're seeing that's a transformation not just in our laws but in the hearts and minds of people -- the progress led not by Washington but by ordinary citizens.

It's propelled not by politics but by love and friendship and a sense of mutual regard and mutual respect. It's playing out in legislatures like New York. (Applause.) It's playing out in courtrooms. It's playing out in the ballot box, as people argue and debate over how to bring about the changes where we are creating a more perfect union. But it's also happening around water coolers. It's happening at Thanksgiving tables. It's happening on Facebook and Twitter, and at PTA meetings and potluck dinners, and church halls and VFW Halls.

It happens when a father realizes he doesn't just love his daughter, but also her partner. (Applause.) It happens when a soldier tells his unit that he's gay, and they say, well, yeah, we knew that —- (laughter) -- but, you know, you're a good soldier. It happens when a video sparks a movement to let every single young person out there know that they're not alone. (Applause.) It happens when people look past their differences to understand our common humanity.

And that's not just the story of the gay rights movement. It is the story of America, and the slow, inexorable march towards a more perfect union.

I want thank you for your contribution to that story. I'm confident we're going to keep on writing more chapters.

Thank you very much, everybody. (Applause.)

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Barack Obama backs Joe Biden for president 2020-04-14
Obama portraits in Chicago in 2021 2020-01-26
SHOWBIZ Best LGBTQ films, Eddie Murphy, Obama's songs, DJ retires 2020-01-07
High-school complex to be named after Michelle Obama 2019-03-09
NATIONAL: Military lawsuit, Ohio's pro-trans measure, Obama highway 2018-12-26
DeVos Rescinds Obama Guidance, Leadership Conference responds 2018-12-18
AMA criticizes Obamacare ruling 2018-12-15
NATIONAL Mich. lawsuit, Michelle Obama, Harvey Milk, gay teen politician 2018-11-20
Michelle Obama giving book-tour tickets to groups 2018-11-07
Michelle Obama giving book-tour tickets to groups 2018-10-29
Obama-era guidance protecting safety of transgender prisoners now rolled back 2018-05-12
ELECTIONS 14th Congressional Dist. candidate Lauren Underwood is former Obama advisor 2018-03-07
SHOWBIZ Oprah & RuPaul, Well Strung, Obama film, 'Modern Family' 2018-01-16
DeVos reverses Obama-era guidelines to schools on sexual assault 2017-09-22
Statement from President Obama on the Passing of Edith Windsor 2017-09-12
Reports: GOP urges Trump to reverse Obama-era protections 2017-04-25
In loss for Trump, House pulls legislation to repeal Obamacare 2017-03-24
Groups comment on Congress' first steps to repeal Obamacare 2017-03-08
Entertainment: Jennifer Holliday, Jim Parsons, stars say goodbye to Obama 2017-01-18
President Obama Grants Commutation to Chelsea Manning 2017-01-17
President Obama makes statement on monuments honoring civil rights history 2017-01-13
Windy City Times releases 2004 tapes of Obama during Senate campaign 2017-01-12
President Obama's remarks in presenting the Medal of Freedom to VP Joe Biden 2017-01-12
Obama says a fond farewell from Chicago 2017-01-11
Army Secretary Fanning praises Pres. Obama for world's most inclusive military 2016-12-16
ACLU, LGBT groups call on Obama to grant clemency to Chelsea Manning 2016-12-05
President Obama makes World AIDS Day proclamation 2016-12-01
President Obama presents the Medal of Freedom to Ellen DeGeneres and others 2016-11-23
Michelle Obama to recognize Boston's True Colors: Out Youth Theater 2016-11-11
Ambassador to speak on Obama administration's legacy advancing LGBTQ human rights around world 2016-10-25
Michelle Obama stumps for Hillary Clinton in NH, calls out Trump 2016-10-13
Remarks by President Obama at National Museum of African American History and Culture 2016-09-25
President Obama presents National Medals of the Arts and Humanities 2016-09-22
President Obama to award National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal 2016-09-20
Remarks by President Obama to Congressional Black Caucus Foundation dinner 2016-09-18
Day 3: Obama leads heavy hitters in speeches praising Clinton 2016-07-28
President Obama passes the baton to Hillary Clinton 2016-07-27
Obama at memorial for Dallas officers, speaks of African American despair 2016-07-13
Obama designates Stonewall monument 2016-06-29
Pres. Obama designates Stonewall National Monument, first honoring LGBT Rights 2016-06-24

Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Submit an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.