Obama Cites LGBT Rights As A Major Accomplishment Of First Term


One of the things that I’m very proud of during my first four years is I think I’ve helped to solidify this incredibly rapid transformation in people’s attitudes around LGBT issues — how we think about gays and lesbians and transgender persons. A lot of that just has to do with the fact that if you talk to Malia, the idea of making an anti-gay remark at her school is just unimaginable. They just don’t get that.

“And so, there are those attitudinal shifts that make up this new coalition as well. For all the divisions that you read about in our politics — and many of them are real and powerful — the truth is, is that we have steadily become a more diverse and tolerant country that embraces people’s differences, and respects people who are not like us. And that’s a profoundly good thing. That’s one of the strengths of America. It was hard-fought. And there’s been the occasional backlash, and this is not to argue that somehow racism or sexism or homophobia are going to be eliminated or ever will be eliminated. It is to argue that our norms have changed in a way that prizes inclusion more than exclusion.”

President Barack Obama in his Time “Person of the Year” interview (h/t: Buzzfeed)

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  • Dakotahgeo

    THIS IS WHY President Obama was elected for his second term, plus the fact he is forward-looking, forward-moving and attempts to INCLUDE ALL people. I anticipate more stunning victories in the economy, LGBTQ communities, and international relations. He has a good handle on cleaning up the messes left by the Repug/TPods and GW Bunnypants. May it continue!

  • 2eo

    I’ve said lots of times already, look at the UK for how badly the conservative economy plan is working here in Europe, we are on the verge of an unprecedented TRIPLE RECESSION. We didn’t even have that after the war.

    America is recovering and there is actual, legitimate growth and an actual chance of working out of the downturn fully, the only thing that has happened jobs wise within 200 miles of where I live is Comet [a UK electrical/home goods retailer] has gone bankrupt and closed 200 stores and sacked 7,000 people.

    The banks wouldn’t even extend their deadlines over the christmas period, this is what the GOP equivalent are doing here in the UK.

  • Boytoy

    That’s OUR President.

  • Little-Kiwi


    You gotta love the furious anger that President Obama’s pro-Equality work has elicited. Of course they’re upset – the “black liberal” did more for them than their own white conservative families ever has, and ever will.

    Thank you Mr. President!

  • Dakotahgeo

    @Little-Kiwi: Hear, hear, hear, Little Kiwi! Kudos to you and all self-affirming GLBTQ people… US!!! Lolol!

  • jwrappaport

    I want to preface this by saying that Obama has helped us make immense progress and that we wouldn’t be where we were had we had a republican in the White House, but let’s be honest – Obama’s a masterful tactician and opportunist extraordinaire. He has been nothing but mealy mouthed on gay rights from day one, and it’s not apparent to me that he’s willing to put anything on the line to advance our cause unless it’s to his benefit.

    I was hoping for a more energetic approach in his second administration, but if Chuck Hagel’s nomination is any indicator, I’m not especially optimistic. I’ll be expecting a lot more “states’ rights” equivocations from our Commander in Chief in the coming years.

  • Modernliving3

    @jwrappaport: thanks for keeping this in perspective. It has always kind of frustrated me to see how thankful gay people are for a democratic president to not feel we should be discriminated against instead of expecting and demanding he not feel this way. Everyone is so quick to kiss his ass and so easily forgetful that he still believes states have their rights to discriminate.

  • Little-Kiwi

    @Modernliving3: despite the fact that he’s gone on record with opposing state initiatives to codify anti-gay discrimination into law?

    i think it’s very clear – with Obama and the Dems we’re on the path to Equality. A path that would have crashed downhill in reverse had any of the nominated Republican Bigots won either of the last two elections.

  • jwrappaport

    @Little-Kiwi: While Obama has gone on record opposing homophobic measures in his measured, quiet way, he has repeatedly stated that states should have the right to discriminate. Until Obama has the integrity to stand tall with us rather than timidly and begrudgingly in the background, I don’t consider him a serious force for change, but rather a fair-weather friend who is happy to go along with it.

  • Little-Kiwi

    it’s not exactly “quiet” when he, the President, makes statements of his opposition to those measures.

    feel free to cite where he specifically stated that “states have the right to discriminate”

    I’m not sure how aware you are of your own country, but nearly half of your population is bats**t insane. School massacres. the response? record-high sales of semi-automatic assault weapons.

    nearly half your country is fed lies by Faux News, and the shameful reality of the political process means that those plebes are allowed to vote.

    Look, I’m as lefty-liberal as they come, so Liberal that i barely consider the Democrats to be liberals at all – they’re about as liberal as the Canadian Conservative Party.

    But we have the opportunity with Obama in the next four years to see groundbreaking advances in human equality – we’ve already seen some historic ones in his first term.

    So rather than play Miserable Pessimist, become proactive. There are very clear ways to advance social change, and a big one is the grassroots side – the more the public sides with Equality then the less politicians will feel a need a need to pander to the country’s idiots for votes and support.

    so, let’s all get to work on that, eh?

  • jwrappaport

    @Little-Kiwi: I prefer being realistic.

    Obama’s support is “quiet” when he has said nothing about the government’s position in the upcoming Supreme Court battles. It’s quiet when gay and lesbian servicemen might be at the mercy of an incredibly homophobic Secretary of Defense appointed by Obama himself. It’s quiet when he continues to let so many federal judgeships remain open when they could be filled to help our cause.

    Regarding his states’ rights argument on discrimination, here’s my citation:

    Obama stated in 2006: “decisions about marriage should be left to the states as they always have been.” He continues to state that it is not a federal issue and that it would be “wrong” to legislate federally. Again, this is not in serious controversy for anyone who has been paying attention to Obama’s very carefully measured support.

  • jwrappaport

    “We need to recognize that people are going to have differing views on marriage and those views, even if we disagree strongly, should be respected.”

    White House talking points on gay marriage (

    “We make it absolutely clear that we are talking about civil marriages and civil laws. This isn’t a federal issue.” (Id.)

    I don’t know how this can be unclear to you – Obama supports the notion of states retaining the right to discriminate against gay couples and does not believe it should be federally mandated, regardless of his own tepid support. I have a hunch he feels differently about interracial marriage, yet I would love to hear his justification for distinguishing the two.

  • Little-Kiwi

    Or he doesn’t actually believe that yet knows that it’s the language that needs to be used to not freak out the idiots who still scream about “State’s Rights!!” because they’re still bitter about being forced to Integrate decades ago.

    Obama supports the rights of LGBT Americans to Marry. And since about half of America is dumber than dirt, he has to carefully use words that can’t be used against him by the GOP-nutbags.

  • Brian

    The only real progress that was made was DADT repeal. The President should be congratulated for signing it but let’s not forget that he was very inactive in the process leading up to it. I’d like to know what he’s planning for his new term. One piece of gay rights legislation is not a huge accomplishment. It’s a valuable accomplishment but not a huge one. I want to see ENDA enacted and DOMA repealed.

    ENDA is basic but even here Obama has not said one thing. Not one thing.

  • Little-Kiwi

    i love how we’re all apparently ignoring the historic reality that for the first time in American history a sitting President has openly stated, to the entire country and the world, that he believes that gay couples should be allowed to freedom to marry.

    Seriously. And to pretend that in his first term we only saw “one piece of gay rights legislation” is just plain ignorance.

  • manjoguy

    I notice the headline reads “accomplishment” as in the singular. I would agree. Obama’s first term accomplished very little that positively affected the nation. I read some comments as saying Obama is “forward thinking/acting”. I guess that can be said if you want the country moving toward big government, big spending and socialism in general.

  • John Doe

    I don’t give Obama as much credit as I give the voters and the federal court system. Over 25 federal judges have already ruled that DOMA is unconstitutional. It is my belief that upon further judicial review that DOMA will be struct down entirely. So, I am thankful for checks and balances… and that our court system will abolish DOMA. We’ve waited for our elected officials to do something with DOMA… but they haven’t.

  • avesraggiana

    Whatever. I still very willingly and very happily voted for Obama again. He’s the best we’ve got. As far as LGBT rights are concerned, Obama is more concerned about focusing on what he can realistically achieve, given political realities, rather than what will make him look good, or what will ingratiate him to the LGBT community.

  • FStratford


    Who cares?

    He did more for us than any president in history, including my favorite: Clinton.

    His timing is impeccable. Opportunist? Who cares? His support brought the other minorities in our camp who were reluctant at best.

    Pragmatic? Yes! He is supposed to. If he wasn’t president, we would be fighting uphill battles again. With him as President, he pretty much neutralized the homophobes who still control congress. It gave us an opportunity to fight back and win. He did not win it for us but he allowed us to fight in an even ground.

    That’s all we gays ask – an opportunity. We can do the rest, as long as the federal govt (exec, legislative) stays neutral, we can go to the courts and win. (and the more liberals he appOints, the better)

  • FStratford


    Oh please. States rights is a non issue as soon as DOMA is repealed, all marriages in any state will be recognized by all other states because 1 state’s marriage must be recognized by all.

    He knows that and the republicans know that too. We’re gettIng there. And as long as more states join our cause the Supremes will have no choice but to declare DOMA null and void

  • FStratford

    @John Doe:

    Point made. We can’t rely on Obama to do our work. We can only rely on him to support us quietly and behind the scenes. But that’s way better than fighting a President isn’t it?

  • jeff4justice

    Did NDAA, continued attacks on marijuana users, the continuation of the Patriot Act, GMOs and continued environmental destruction, putting social safety net programs on the table, a refusal to re-investigate 9/11 or Bush’s crimes, or the continuation/expansion of lie-based wars, and drone attacks make Obama’s list?

  • tjr101

    Ugh, if only he could run again in 2016. Lol

    The Dems have to get started finding his successor.

  • Dakotahgeo

    @tjr101: We may well be on our way with Hillary Clinton. Bill would be right at home and just in case Hillary had a tough situation to deal with, he’d be perfect as an in-White House advisor. Bet on it! And who would be more GLBTQ supportive than Mrs. Clinton? Wouldn’t it be cool if she had to sign the bill repealing the DOMA that her hubby signed?? Oh, the irony!!!

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