7 Quotes From Obama's LGBT Pride Reception That Prove He Really Understands The Fight For Gay Rights
President Barack Obama held a reception at the White House Wednesday to observe LGBT Pride month, which happens every year in June and is honored with exciting parades around the country. Obama gave a speech to talk about just how far the United States has come on gay rights and just how far it has left to go. Obama's best quotes during the LGBT Pride speech show that he understands why the fight for gay rights isn't just about the right to marry.
Obama's speech talked about how the right to marry is just something fundamental that same-sex couples want so that their relationships will be equal to heterosexual relationships. But there are other things that LGBT people want — and deserve — that will make their lives happier and safer. He acknowledged that ending the military's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy ended decades of shame associated with identifying as LGBT and that the fight for civil rights is about the fight for ending violence against LGBT people. (The FBI's most recent statistics show 20.8 percent of hate crimes target victims because of their sexual orientation.) Obama said LGBT Americans' civil rights is an issue "whose time has come," and that we've got a lot to celebrate. Here are seven of Obama's best quotes about why we should be celebrating but also why there is still work left to do.
However the [Supreme Court] decision comes down on the marriage issue, one thing's undeniable: There has been this incredible shift in attitudes across the country. When I became president, same-sex marriage was legal in only two states. Today it's legal in 37 states and the District of Columbia. A decade ago, politicians ran against LGBT rights, today they're running towards them, 'cause they've learned what the rest of the country knows — that marriage equality is about our civil rights, and our firm belief that every citizen should be treated equally under the law.
We all know that there's a lot more that we can and must do. In 2015, in a time when we have laws that say Americans can't be fired for the color of their skin or their religion or if they have a disability, it is wrong that hardworking Americans still live in fear of being fired simply because of who they are or because of who they love.
Every young person — no matter who they are or what they they look like or what gender they identify as — deserves to be valued and loved for who they are.
Too many folks are still targeted, and transgender women of color are particularly vulnerable. That kind of ugliness simply doesn't belong in America. That's not who we are.
And the truth is that courage comes in a lot of forms. There's courage in the moment of danger, the kind our troops show in battle. There's the courage of resilience and perseverance, the kind of brave or wounded warriors. There's moral courage, of the sort we saw in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Harvey Milk, who fight for their ideals. Then, there's the kind of courage it takes to be true to yourself, even if society doesn't always accept or understand you. And nobody's got a monopoly on that kind of courage. It can come from all walks of life. And to a young boy or girl out there struggling with their own identity, the folks in this room are heroes. They've show extraordinary courage. Not only are you helping others find the strength to be true to who they are, you're helping America be true to who we are as a nation. And that's ultimately what this pride month is all about.
Those of us who know freedom and opportunity thanks to the toil and blood of those who came before us, we have an extra responsibility to extend freedom and opportunity to other people who are still marginalized and still facing injustice.
So, there are still battles to wage, more hearts and minds to change. As long as there's a single child in America that's afraid they won't be accepted for who they are, we've got more work to do.
Images: Getty Images (8)