In an applause-laden speech at the White House this afternoon, President Obama laid out his most detailed committment to the gay community yet. Reiterating previous promises to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, enact federal hate crimes protections, and repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, our great orator of a president made a fantastic case for his self-professed committment to GLBTs. With Michelle by his side, Obama reminded us of what we knew him to be as a candidate: our “ally and a champion” to our community. And equally importantly, he acknowledged our frustration.
Said Obama (rush transcript, excuse errors):
“I know that many in this room feel that progress has not come fast enough. … But I say this: We have made progress. And we will make more. And I want you to know that I expect, and hope, not to be judged by words … but by promises my administration keeps. We’ve been in office six months, I expect by the time this administration if over, you guys will have some pretty good feelings about the Obama administration.”
ON DOMA: “we have a duty to uphold existing law, but I believe we must do so in a way that does not exacerbate old divides. And fulfilling this duty in upholding the law in no way lessens my commitment to reversing this law. I’ve made that clear.”
ON DADT: “I believe Don’t Ask Don’t Tell doesn’t contribute to our national security. I believe preventing patriotic Americans from serving their country weakens our national security. … Now, my administration is already working with the Pentagon and members of the House and the Senate on how we’ll go about ending this policy, which will require an act of Congress. Someday, I’m confident, we’ll look back at this transition and ask why it generated such angst, but as Commander-in-Chief, in a time of war, I do have a responsibility to see that this change is administered in a practical way and a way that takes over the long term.”
THE SCENE IN THE WHITE HOUSE EAST ROOM:
Rep. Jared Polis reacts. Asked whether Obama is “waffling” on his commitment, Polis, arguably, waffles in his own answer:
FULL TRANSCRIPT on Page 2.
FULL LIST of invited guests on Page 3.