Until Barack Obama was elected to his second term as President of the United States, the holders of the highest office in the land had a pretty dismal record of their treatment of our community. While Bill Clinton started off as a friend of the community, he buckled to political pressure and backed away from allowing “gays in the military” instead foisting Don’t Ask Don’t Tell down our throats. Before him, George H.W. Bush went on record before he was elected to say that he “didn’t want same sex marriage codified.” We all know the disaster that was Ronald Regan and his refusal to address the HIV/AIDS crisis until it was much too late.
Obama was totally different. While it took him nearly four years as president to finally voice his support for marriage equality, immediately upon announcing his candidacy, he made his intentions clear that he wouldn’t be the same homophobic candidate we had seen before. Let’s let the president’s own words speak for him as we see just how much of an ally he is to our community.
“[LGBT Pride is] the story of a civil rights pioneer who’s here today, Frank Kameny, who was fired. Frank was fired from his job as an astronomer for the federal government simply because he was gay. And in 1965, he led a protest outside the White House, which was at the time both an act of conscience but also an act of extraordinary courage. And so we are proud of you, Frank, and we are grateful to you for your leadership.
It’s the story of the Stonewall protests, which took place 40 years ago this week, when a group of citizens — with few options, and fewer supporters — decided they’d had enough and refused to accept a policy of wanton discrimination. And two men who were at those protests are here today. Imagine the journey that they’ve travelled.”- 2009 at the first EVER White House LGBT Pride Reception
“This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are. It’s the right thing to do.” 2010 State of the Union Address
“Our troops come from every corner of this country -– they’re black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American. They are Christian and Hindu, Jewish and Muslim. And, yes, we know that some of them are gay. Starting this year, no American will be forbidden from serving the country they love because of who they love.” 2011 State of the Union Address
“Those of us who’ve been sent here to serve can learn a thing or two from the service of our troops. When you put on that uniform, it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white; Asian, Latino, Native American; conservative, liberal; rich, poor; gay, straight. When you’re marching into battle, you look out for the person next to you, or the mission fails. When you’re in the thick of the fight, you rise or fall as one unit, serving one nation, leaving no one behind. “2012 State of the Union Address
“We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths –- that all of us are created equal –- is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.” 2013 Inaugural Address, the first time any US President referred to the Stonewall Riots in an Inaugural Address
We will ensure equal treatment for all service members, and equal benefits for their families — gay and straight. 2013 State of the Union Address
“This morning, the Supreme Court recognized that the Constitution guarantees marriage equality. In doing so, they’ve reaffirmed that all Americans are entitled to the equal protection of the law. That all people should be treated equally, regardless of who they are or who they love.” June 26, 2015 when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality
“Today, we live in an America where “don’t ask, don’t tell” doesn’t exist anymore. Because no one should have to hide who they love in order to serve the country that they love. We live in an America that protects all of us with a hate crimes law that bears the name of Matthew Shepard. We live in an America where all of us are treated more equally, because visiting hours in hospitals no longer depend on who you are and insurance companies can no longer turn somebody away simply because of who you love.
Thanks to heroes like Edith Windsor and Jim — I always get Jim’s name, Jim knows I love him, but I never know where to put the emphasis — Obergefell –generations of couples who insisted that love is love, we now live in an America where all of our marriages and our families are recognized as equal under the law. And that’s an extraordinary thing.” 2016 LGBT Pride Reception at the White House
These are but a few of the mentions that President Barack Obama made of the LGBT community. For the first time, we had a president who actually acknowledged us, who loved us, and who used his political capital to fight for our rights. We are going to miss him.