UPDATED: The White House has released the text of President Obama’s speech at the 15th annual HRC National Dinner. For the video and transcript, click here.
Toni Morrison famously dubbed Bill Clinton America’s first black president because he was, “born poor, working-class, saxophone-playing, McDonald’s-and-junk-food-loving boy from Arkansas.”
New York magazine recently suggested Barack Obama is our first Jewish president, because of his strong stance against UN pressure for a Palestinian state.
But are we ready to call Barry the United State’s first gay President (strictly in the metaphorical sense)?
Though many still have problems with Obama’s treatment of the LGBT community—and his “I’m evolving” posture on marriage equality is getting real tired—there’s no denying he’s done more on DADT (sayonara!), DOMA (circling the drain?) and other issues than any other POTUS.
And all during his first term in office, a key factor many pundits omit.
It’ll be very interesting to see what Obama says tonight, when he delivers the keynote address at the Human Rights Campaign’s annual National Dinner in Washington, DC. Will he tout his record? Will he announce the next battleground? Or will he make warm, vague statements and then sit down to cut into his rubber chicken like everyone else?
And even if he says the right things, he’s preaching to the choir—its not like there are going to be Tea Party delegates among the 3,000 attendees at the Washington Convention Center tonight.
In a CNN report, Freedom to Marry’s Evan Wolfson’s said:
“I’d like to see the president bring his message of support for the freedom to marry to a broader audience, perhaps in a conversational setting, so that all Americans can hear him talk about why marriage matters to loving gay and lesbian couples and their families.”
And there are those who grate at Obama even sidling up to HRC, a group that’s accused of being more focused on fundraising and celebrity endorsements than making substantive change. It was, after all, gay conservatives who really got the ball rolling on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Log Cabin Republican executive director Christian Berle isn’t doing cartwheels about the President’s appearance tonight:
“As all Americans are becoming open to marriage equality, the president is taking a retreat. Instead he is turning to the gay community for money and applause…. If the president wants to deserve all the money and adulation he has already received from the gay community, he should announce his firm support for everyone’s freedom to marry.”
Whatever Obama says tonight and however he’s received, he better have some Tums handy tomorrow morning when the pundits start parsing his words.
UPDATED: To see the video of President Obama’s speech and read the transcript, click here.
Image via VJNet