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During Pride Month, President Obama Vows to Make Progress on LGBT Issues

June 28, 2010

"The fact that we've got activists here is important because it's a reminder that change never comes, or at least never begins, in Washington. It begins with acts of compassion -- and sometimes defiance -- across America." These were the opening words from U.S. President Barack Obama as he spoke at the White House's LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Pride Month Reception on June 22. Obama took the opportunity to defend the progress his administration has made for LGBT rights, and to outline additional measures he's striving towards:

  • At last year's Pride reception, Obama promised to pass hate crime legislation. The Matthew Shepard act passed and was signed into law last October.
  • Obama and Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, are working together to ensure that hospitals that participate in Medicare or Medicaid allow gay and lesbian partners and their families the same privileges (including visitation rights) as straight partners.
  • Obama has issued an executive order to extend as many partnership benefits to LGBT federal employees as possible. He also noted that he would "continue to fight to change the law: to guarantee gay federal employees the exact same benefits as straight employees -- including access to health insurance and retirement plans."
  • To great applause, Obama said, "No one in America should be fired because they're gay. It's not right, it's not who we are as Americans, and we are going to put a stop to it." To do so, he says he will push to pass an inclusive employee non-discrimination bill, and has asked Congress to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.
  • Finally, Obama spoke about the progress that's been made on his campaign promise to repeal the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. "The only way to lock this in … is if we work with the Pentagon," he noted. "We have never been closer to ending this discriminatory policy. And I'm going to keep on fighting until that bill is on my desk and I can sign it."

Obama concluded his speech optimistically, praising young LGBT people -- particularly activists -- for standing up for themselves and their rights. "I believe because of them that the future is bright. It's certainly bright for them," Obama said. "And I want you all to know that as this work continues, I'm going to be standing shoulder-to-shoulder with you, fighting by your side every step of the way."

You can watch a video of the reception below, or read the transcript at whitehouse.gov.

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Reader Comments:

Comment by: memphisstrivingreaders (Los Angeles,CA) Thu., Jul. 29, 2010 at 12:48 pm EDT
I started reading from the first issue and bought from the third. I was wondering what happened as I haven't been able to find it in the book shop for ages. Sigh. It was THE BEST gaming memphisstrivingreaders along with Mean Machines from England. A part of my youth died today finding this news! I just read online now that the mag might be coming back on Dec. 1st.
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Comment by: RAIN (Louisville) Thu., Jul. 1, 2010 at 7:59 pm EDT
OBAMA is a joke .. we should have rights to marry ect yet he states he is leaving it up to " EACH STATE" to decided if we can marry etc... it's absolute bull, he needs to pass a bill for gay rights period and stop all this lil bull he is doing.
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Comment by: Douglas (Miami Beach, FL) Thu., Jul. 1, 2010 at 6:00 pm EDT
Same-sex partner visitation rights at publicly funded hospitals, while a welcome gesture, are only the minimally decent thing to do. This is not something he should be bragging about.
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Comment by: NEED HELP (Memphis Tn.) Mon., Jun. 28, 2010 at 11:09 pm EDT
I live in memphis tn. and I have HIV I'm doing everything the that this program asking me. But something is wrong, I can't get housing,why because of my past.. I feel that its wrong to let me go back HOUSELESS ather 6 months. could you help me in what can I do. I don't need to becould HOMELESS again.I have came a long way in this progarm..
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Comment by: Keppler (San Jose, CA) Mon., Jun. 28, 2010 at 9:46 pm EDT
No ENDA, and no DADT or DOMA repeals. Obama's idea of "making progress" is different from the rest of us - as we saw with healthcare reform. You say you support it, and then go back to bed for a year or two. If it's not done when you wake up next, you say you support it again, and....
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Word on the Street

fogcityjohn Is LGBT Pride Still Significant Nowadays? If So, How?

Pride celebrations remain as necessary today as they have ever been. The meager progress on issues vital to the GLBT community from our Democratic president and Democratic Congress shows that it's critically important that we remain not only proud, but out and loud. So let's all resolve to make enough noise this June that even Washington, D.C., will hear us.

Read More >>

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Do you celebrate LGBT Pride in your city or town?
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