Forty years after the Stonewall riots sparked the gay rights movement, President Barack Obama hosts an historic reception for LGBT activists and their families to honor LGBT Pride and the 40th Stonewall anniversary. The speech, carried live on CNN and other networks, marks the first time a sitting president has given a live televised speech on LGBT issues.
The President, who has been criticized by many LGBT rights advocates for inaction on his many campaign promises, says his Administration has made some progress on behalf of gay Americans and will do more. Full remarks AFTER THE JUMP:
"I know that many in this room don't believe that progress has come fast enough, and I understand that," Mr. Obama said at a reception for LGBT Pride Month at the White House. "It's not for me to tell you to be patient anymore than it was for others to counsel patience to African-Americans who were petitioning for equal rights a half-century ago."
"But I say this: We have made progress," the president continued. "And we will make more. And I want you to know that I expect and hope to be judged not by words, not by promises I've made, but by the promises that my administration keeps."
Obama spoke about the "movement" created some 40 years ago: "The riots at Stonewall gave way to protests, and protests gave way to a movement, and the movement gave way to a transformation that continues to this day. It continues when a partner fights for her right to sit at the hospital bedside of a woman she loves; it continues when a teenager is called a name for being different and says, 'So what if I am?'; it continues in your work and in your activism, in your fight to freely live your lives to the fullest."
The list of attendees was forwarded by the White House Press Office to Rod 2.0. (Full list AFTER THE JUMP.) Invited guests included openly gay Administration officials such as Export-Import Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg, Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry and Asst. Labor Secretary Mary Beth Maxwell. Leading LGBT advocates such as Human Rights Campaign's Joe Solmonese, and Jarrett Barrios, the new president of Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).
There were a number of prominent black and Latino LGBTs that should be familiar to Rod 2.0 readers: Phil Wilson, Black AIDS Institute; HRC's Donna Payne; Andre Leon Talley; Connecticut State Rep. Jason Bartlett; Denise Simmons, Mayor of Cambridge, MA; Cornelius Baker, National Black Gay Men's Advocacy Coalition; San Diego City Commissioner Stampp Corbin; actor Wilson Cruz; Bishop Yvette Flunder, City of Refuge United Church of Christ; Earl Fowlkes, International Federation of Black Prides; Lupe Valdez, Dallas County Sheriff; and black Chicago lesbian leaders Mary Morten and Vernita Gray, interviewed in my Advocate cover story on Obama and Hillary Clinton.
An historic occasion and we should be mindful of the progress being made and how much further we have to go. It was also a pleasure to hear Obama allude to the black Civil Rights Movement. The occasion would have been more meaningful if there were more substantive policy initiatives to announce. The guest list was pleasantly diverse ... but very Stonewall 1.5. Online LGBT activists are leading the fight for equality and none were represented. Very out of character with the Facebook, YouTube and BlackBerry-driven White House.
WHEN YOU JUMP, Obama's full remarks and the guest list.