Obama Gives Shout Out To “Our Gay Brothers And Sisters” During Inaugural Address

obama inauguralPresident Barack Obama broke new ground again today, becoming the first president to include the LGBT community in his inaugural address.

Calling equality “the star that… guided our forbearrs through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall,” the President underscored his dedication to LGBT rights:

It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts.  Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.

The day’s events also included the ceremonial swearing in of President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, as well as performances by James Taylor and Kelly Clarkson, and a 2,000-person parade down the National Mall.

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  • Little-Kiwi

    you should check out how the right-wing blogosphere is furious about all of this.

    included in the fury are gay republicans. furious and bitter that the Black Liberal President continues to do more for them than their own white republican families ever will.

    thank you Mr. President! that was a profoundly moving speech for the ages.

  • Michael Bedwell

    Words matter, but actions speak louder than words. IF YOU GENUINELY WANT YOUR “gay brothers and sisters [to be] treated like anyone else under the law,” Mr. President, if you TRULY believe that “if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well,” that “progress … require[s] us to act in our time,” that “decisions are upon us, and we cannot afford delay,” that “we must act… we must act….,” then there will be NO MORE DELAY—no WAITING on the NEXT Secretary of Defense to take office MONTHS away—YOU will use YOUR unequivocal authority to order the Pentagon to STOP treating both individual gay and lesbian service members and those in partnerships UNequally NOW; YOU will use that same authority to ban discrimination against LGBTs by federal contractors; and YOU will order YOUR Department of Justice to enter a friend of the court brief telling the Supreme Court that both DOMA and Prop 8 should be overturned. These words were beautiful, but on these issues it is past time to act, Mr. President. ACT!

  • yaoming

    He also mentioned Stonewall:

    The president said that the truth that we are all created equal guides us today “just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall.”

  • 1EqualityUSA

    Fascinating how Antonin Scalia De Medici donned his hat and crossed his arms so defiantly. Justice Roberts even looked him up and down. Body language screams.

  • Joetx

    @Little-Kiwi: If only he were “liberal.”

    Obama has done more for the LGBT community than any other POTUS, but still…

    Talk is cheap. If Obama really puts his political capital behind ending DOMA, passing ENDA, etc., then I’ll get excited.

  • 2eo

    @1EqualityUSA: Shame it wasn’t a heart attack, that would have made the address awesome.

  • Badger88

    @Joetx: Republicans control the House of Representatives, and Speaker Boehner has refused to allow votes on bills for ENDA and abolishing DOMA. Obama is doing everything he can given the incredible dysfunction of Congress. Having political capital doesn’t mean he can accomplish the impossible.

    And Obama’s “cheap” talk is a huge reason that marriage quality support has skyrocketed in the past few years, particularly in the black community. When the President speaks, people listen and rethink their own beliefs.

  • jwrappaport

    @Michael Bedwell: As they say in the British Parliament, “hear, hear!” Obama is great at talking – brilliant even. What is missing is action, which is to say expending more than trivial political capital for gay rights. He’s been better than any other president, but it’s a far cry from what justice and morality demand.

    He talks grandly of equality before the law, yet does nothing to remedy the inequalities LGB troops still face in the service, many of which could be decided by executive order tomorrow morning. Worse, he appoints an obvious homophobe to run the Defense Department just after the demise of DADT. More mixed messages and plodding progress – better than Mittens, but not good enough for me.

  • hyhybt

    @2eo: Having a major government official taken ill at *both* of Obama’s inaugurations would be a nasty coincidence, no matter who it is.

  • hyhybt

    @Michael Bedwell: @jwrappaport: DOMA is still the law of the land, and as long as that is so there are limits to how far the Department of Defense can go no matter who is president.

    But yes, there’s more he can do.

    (As for the nomination of whatsisname, “is he a homophobe” is WAY down any sensibly prioritized list of considerations for that post. Even now, with DADT recently removed and DOMA not quite following yet, anything gay-related is going to be a very small part of his job, and with his boss’s position clear, he will be seriously constrained in what harm he could do even if he wants to do any at all, which may well not be the case.)

  • jwrappaport

    @hyhybt: Chuck Hagel’s homophobia “is WAY down any sensibly prioritized list of considerations for that post.” I’m fairly certain Ashley Broadway would beg to differ, as would many LBG servicemembers and their spouses/significant others whose inequality could be greatly reduced by a stroke of Obama’s pen. Issues relating to housing, relocation, commissary access, legal aid, and military ID cards are purely regulatory and would not require any congressional action to remedy. These are non-trivial issues that greatly affect people’s lives and serve to remind them publicly and on a daily basis that they are different and inferior. Moreover, these issues pertain to regulations promulgated and enforced by the SoD – giving that power to Hagel is frankly frightening to me, to say nothing of how LGB military families feel.

    The argument that there are other important considerations is easily countered: there is no reason Obama couldn’t have nominated a non-homophobe who shared Hagel’s moderate views on Israel/Middle East.

    I’m not even necessarily concerned about the harm Hagel will do, I’m concerned by the good he won’t do (morally equivalent stances as far as I’m concerned), which I may hasten to add is worrisome given Obama’s gay rights lethargy.

  • hyhybt

    @jwrappaport: I’m not trying to say he’s the best for the job. I know far too little about who all has the knowledge and skills for the most essential functions of things like, say, conducting a war. I’m just saying that those are and ought to be a higher priority in choosing Secretary of Defense, and I’m saying that without denying that treating gay servicepeople and their families fairly regardless of personal views is also important.

  • Michael Bedwell


    There are NUMEROUS benefits for gay military couples that the Pentagon ITSELF has admitted are NOT banned by DOMA, and could be extended to them TODAY. At the top of the list is access to free military family housing. Because Commander-in-Chief Obama has inexplicably refused to order the Pentagon to stop such arbitrary discrimination, gay couples have to pay the full price of non-government owned housing on and off base while their straight counterparts can either live in free military housing or get a financial allowance for other housing [the latter IS banned by DOMA to gay couples].

    Further, DOMA has NOTHING to do with the Pentagon’s ARBITRARY refusal to include individual gay and lesbian troops in the protections against harassment and discrimination in such things as duty assignments and promotions of the Military Equal Opportunity Program that their NONgay peers automatically get on the basis of race, gender, ethnicity, and religious or political affilation.

    On November 29th, 2007, candidate for the Democratic Nominee for President Barack Obama released a statement that included this promise: “The eradication of [DADT] will require more than just eliminating one statute. It will require the implementation of anti-harassment policies and protocols for dealing with abusive or discriminatory behavior as we transition our armed forces away from a policy of discrimination. The military must be our active partners in developing those policies and protocols. That work should have started long ago. It will start when I take office.”

    Are we to believe he meant the SECOND time he took office?

  • jwrappaport

    @hyhybt: Aha, but I think we can have our cake and eat it too. I reject the premise that we must choose between those qualities and refuse to rank them – indeed, as I said, I think Obama should have chosen a similarly qualified candidate who wasn’t so “aggressively straight.”

  • hyhybt

    @jwrappaport: I agree… provided one was readily available. Without knowing much more than either of us does, that cannot be claimed for certainty.

  • hephaestion

    Dan Avery, it wasn’t a 2,000 person parade down the National Mall. It was a 15,000 person parade up Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.

  • Windsor519

    Most gay people aren’t part of a couple that is looking to get married at this time – we aren’t going to die if we don’t get married. So please, I understand the intensity that gay marriage advocates feel, but there’s an entire subclass of gay people that nobody ever talks about: those who are alone, who are losing their jobs, their homes, their insurance; everything and have nobody out there to help them. We have to do something about the numbers of gay people who are ending their own lives isolated and addicted – it’s a much higher percentage of the population than those who are in a couple wanting to marry. But because that brings up images of unattractive, rural, poor gay people, the affluent urban elite gays are embarrassed to put that image out there – instead they want to show the young, beautiful rich gay men who are driving BMW’s and Bentleys to a fancy million dollar wedding. If we really care about the health of our community, then we will be committed to fix this community from the ground up – not from the top down. That’s what’s fucked up this country in the first place. If so many of us are completely clueless about how relationships work between two men, or how to come out, or how to deal being seen together as a gay couple, then we are screwed. The right to get married is great, but if none of us have the confidence to put ourselves out there, or have done the work necessary to find that guy to have a healthy relationship with to get married, then it won’t make any difference. And i don’t see any evidence that we are finding partners at a better rate, or know what to do once we find someone.

    Fix that first, then worry about the next step.

  • macmantoo

    What ever President Obama said today means he’s interested in gay rights. He isn’t running for President any more because he’s in this last term. This is it. Granted unless he issues a Presidential Proclamation there isn’t a whole lot more he can do. He has a Republican (the backward) Party to contend with . However having said that, this is his last term, so in order to get gay rights through, we have to elect a Democrat House next election.

  • Charli Girl

    (Coughing..hmm ummm) it “ain’t just males ,it’s gay women too!!! But totally agree with you!

  • ChiChi Man

    It was a great day and a great speech.

    My only comment about all of the bizarre naysaying on this thread is that the President’s support of marriage equality has had a greater effect than any of the aforementioned naysaying on this thread.

    That’s a fact.

  • Kieran

    How long before the dinosaurs in the republican party realize it isn’t smart politics to write-off the 5 to 10% of American voters who are gay, lesbian and bisexual? Not to mention thousands of their family and friends who are turned off by homophobia.

  • hyhybt

    @Kieran: Well, that’s tricky. On marriage, we have more than half the population on our side, and on other gay issues the numbers are higher… but they’re mostly not a high priority (even among actual gay people; for example, if you were to believe that electing one party would mean employers couldn’t discriminate, but would also mean there were no jobs to be had anyway, and the other would do the opposite, how do you rank that?). Except for the far right, socially speaking, and for gayetc people ourselves. And they *absolutely need* the former, especially to get past primaries. Not much way that’s going to change until either that base shrinks to the point it’s not worth trying to appeal to them, or else it becomes obvious even to them that only by selecting more moderate candidates will they have a chance in general elections. And we’re nowhere near either of those points.

  • Jeffery

    I like this President.

    For all the naysayers saying he should do more .. learn about our branches of government, checks and balances and proper procedures for changing laws. How many Presidents have openly supported gay marriage? Just one, our current President.

    As President, he can do only a few things to help ANY cause without overstepping his power as President.

    If you take baby steps into changing and challenging laws, then it changes the hearts and minds of the people. If you jump right into it, you piss a lot of people off and turn them against the cause.

    “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • jwrappaport

    @ChiChi Man: Your argument is essentially this:

    1. Obama has done more to advance gay rights than we have;
    2. therefore it follows that our criticism of him lacks merit.

    Aside from being a glaring non-sequitur, I don’t respect the notion that we can’t or ought not to criticize Obama simply because he’s doing something positive for gay rights, which, I would think is more than we can do as a matter of course, as he is the leader of the free world and we are ordinary citizens.

  • jwrappaport

    @Jeffery: Please explain how the Madisonian checks, separation of powers, or legislative procedures in general are implicated by our criticisms. I’m certainly not asking Obama to act beyond the scope of his authority or usurp legislative/judicial power, but rather to remedy what he can in such a manner that respects the framework of our federal government. And as I said above, there is much he can do easily that he isn’t doing, and it’s affecting people’s lives very seriously and very negatively; thus, myself and others are understandably, sad, confused, and frustrated.

    Issues relating to military housing, relocation, commissary access, legal aid, and military ID cards are purely regulatory and would not require any congressional action to remedy. Obama could remedy these issues by executive fiat and would not require congressional approval. Obama has no justification for not remedying these injustices.

  • Lefty

    Even the drones Obama sends abroad kill innocent gay people as well as innocent straight people. And Bradley Manning’s sexuality had absolutely nothing to do with Obama publicly declaring him guilty before he’s even been to trial.
    This President sure don’t discriminate…

    (But he mentioned The Gays in a speech full of empty rhetoric and platitudes. Yay!)

  • Charli Girl

    Tell you what….WORK PROGRESSIVELY ! Our President LISTENS, We have to stay on him and pressure him,but he DOES his job! Can you EVEN imagine having his job? I peeked in on Feaux news and they were discussing pets and “how to fight insomnia!!! Why? because they are SO pissed! The Republican ran House fight him tooth and nail! Can you imagine trying to please everyone? I can be in a room with only 3 people and can’t do it!!!! He continually ASKS for our support,and the reason is he NEEDS us(you and I) to support his efforts!

    Ask yourself what you do everyday to HELP….

  • Lefty

    @Charli Girl: “Can you imagine trying to please everyone? I can be in a room with only 3 people and can’t do it!!!!”

    But surely leadership isn’t about “pleasing” people, let alone everyone? It’s about having principles and working to honor those principles. Those who took a stand against gender and racial inequality would never have achieved anything if they also tried to “please” those who were against such principles.
    This focus on Romney, GOP, Fox News etc is a dangerous red herring and a cop out. This President has overseen policies which would’ve rightly horrified opponents of Bush’s previous administration had he been the one overseeing them. But there’s a kind of blindness to them because it’s Obama. We’re just expected to ignore them and not speak of them, because he vocally supports gay marriage; even though gay people are just as likely to be the victims of these questionable policies.
    It’s easy to say that we should “pressure him” but, with respect, that’s incredibly naive. Most people don’t have a “voice”, nor do they have the resources or the platform to exert any kind of pressure.
    Obviously we should be happy that Obama is vocally supportive of marriage equality, but that’s far from the only – or even most important – issue affecting gay people’s lives. Nor does it mean we should turn a blind eye to Obama’s more sickening policies, however happy we all were when Romney lost…

  • 1EqualityUSA

    Macmantoo said towards the end of post, “However having said that, this is his last term, so in order to get gay rights through, we have to elect a Democrat House next election.”

    Rachel Maddow explained in this segment, from January 17th, how the Republicans will ensure a Republican victory by redistricting. Just as they won the House (without) a majority vote, they will use the same technique to win 2016 and beyond. This very much bears watching. Republicans are already introducing bills into legislation to make this a reality.

    Titled, “American growing wise to Republican plan to rig presidential race”


  • Daggerman

    …finally a man, a president, with strong convictions who isn’t afraid of mentioning ‘Gay equality issues’…but, most of all recognizes that gay men and women are simply just as decent as anyone else! And just to say as well, one does think it so strange that never has a president throughout history ever stood up for ‘homosexuals.’

  • Jeffery


    I have an idea, instead of bitching on forum, go grab 100,000 LGBT folk and petition the White House to do what you just said.

    Saying and doing are two different things.

    Don’t waste your time debating the changes you want, MAKE THEM HAPPEN!

  • jwrappaport

    @Jeffery: A petition would do little, I think – we’ve made our position clear to the White House, and the ball is firmly in its court. Obama knows where we stand.

    Also, wrangling gays to sign a petition is really not different from “bitching on forum” [sic], it’s just a larger forum and more people bitching.

  • Jeffery

    44 Presidents, 57 inaugurations and 224 years before the LGBT community was mentioned in an inauguration speech. It was historical.

    Instead of appreciating it for what it was and how it helps progress, lets just tell him he needs to do more! YEAH!! /sarcasm

  • Lefty

    @Jeffery: “Saying and doing are two different things.”

    That’s kind of ironic as a defense of Obama, I have to say.

    The thing that also bugs me a little in debates of this kind is often how acquiescent many are. They seem to feel that because the President has mentioned gay people then we should be grateful to him. If he truly believes in equal rights then he supports us out of principle not a desire for gratitude – it isn’t a gift he’s giving us and therefore something we should be thankful for. These are our rights. If he believes in the principle of equal rights then there is no compromise, no half-measures and certainly no expectation of gratitude. None of these people who deny us our equality have the right to do so and they absolutely do not require our gratitude when and if they suddenly decide it’s up to them to give us our rights. No.
    Surely Obama’s whole “evolving” charade showed that he’s a politician who doesn’t take risks without testing the water first. And a cursory glance at his policies as a whole shows this President is not entirely committed to moral principles.
    Wasn’t there an article on here recently that showed how important the pro-gay marriage lobby was to Obama’s re-election?
    They knew the risk they were taking. They took a long time to make sure that supporting equality wasn’t going to cost them the election. Eventually they decided they could risk being principled. They vocally supported gay marriage (only vocally – their principles still aren’t binding). They won the election.
    This isn’t a one way street. These politicians get something out of supporting us otherwise they wouldn’t support us (they discard many of their other “principles” at the drop of a hat, it seems). I’m afraid it’s as simple as that.
    We don’t owe any of these politicians thanks. We owe all of this and our gratitude to the vast numbers of gay men and women who have fought and sacrificed over previous decades to change society into a place where Presidents can openly support us because it pays them to and where we can no longer be ignored.

    We’ve as much right to equality as anyone else. And we don’t owe any gratitude to those who once denied us our rights when they eventually turn round and decide we’re entitled to everything they enjoy on a daily basis.

  • Charli Girl

    I totally agree with you,however…He IS STICKING HIS NECK OUT! The haters have behaved this way for a thousand years and NO ONE has gone as far as this,have they? That being said,this President is on the frontline for change for us…Isn’t that something?
    All of us appreciate a small “thank you” on our job,don’t we?
    Come and join the conversation on Sirius channel 108,OUT Q…(2-6 E.T) This is where we all come together and discuss this subject everyday.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    In Virginia, while Henry Marsh was at the inauguration, Republicans slipped a bill through to redistrict, giving themselves permanent wins from here on out. This is REALLY a problem.


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