President Obama referenced the LGBT community’s struggle in his inaugural address tonight, mentioning both his dedication to equality in America and, specifically, to making sure LGBT service members receive fair treatment.
In his speech, the President remarked that it America’s duty to fulfill the promise that “if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead—no matter where you come from, what you look like, or who you love.”
In an address that covered gun violence, climate control, voting rights and women in combat, Obama promised to “ensure equal treatment for all service members, and equal benefits for their families – gay and straight.”
The President also urged the House to give the thumbs up to the version of the Violence Against Women Act that the Senate approved today, one that includes provisions for LGBT victims as well.
Our cause was clearly on the minds of the First Family and congressional Democrats tonight: Tracey Hepner, co-founder of the Military Partners and Families Coalition, sat with First Lady Michelle Obama, while Kelly Costello and her wife, Fabiola Morales, were invited as guests of Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), the lead sponsor of the Uniting American Families Act.
Hepner , who works for the Department of Homeland Security, is married to the Armed Force’s first openly gay general, Army Brig. Gen. Tammy Smith.
Costello and Morales, who is Peruvian, are a binational same-sex couple and when Morales’ student visa expires next year, she will have to leave the U.S., even though Costello is pregnant.