On the administration's slow pace in tackling LGBT issues:
...I know that many in this room don't believe that progress has come fast enough, and I understand that. It's not for me to tell you to be patient...Indirectly addressing the Justice Department's defense of DOMA in a legal brief last month:
But I say this: We have made progress 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...We've been in office six months now. I suspect that by the time this administration is over, I think you guys will have pretty good feelings about the Obama administration.
Now, I want to add we have a duty to uphold existing law, but I believe we must do so in a way that does not exacerbate old divides. And fulfilling this duty in upholding the law in no way lessens my commitment to reversing this law. I've made that clear.I wouldn't put it past the Fascist wing of the Republican Party to clamor for impeachment if Mr. Obama were to make any moves on the LGBT front that even resembled breaking current law, however the brief filed by the administration regarding DOMA sounded more like a Bush administration argument than one coming from Obama. But, I digress.
On "Don't Ask, Don't Tell":
I know that every day that passes without a resolution is a deep disappointment to those men and women who continue to be discharged under this policy -- patriots who often possess critical language skills and years of training and who've served this country well. But what I hope is that these cases underscore the urgency of reversing this policy not just because it's the right thing to do, but because it is essential for our national security.On the HIV travel ban:
...my administration is committed to rescinding the discriminatory ban on entry to the United States based on HIV status. (Applause.) The Office of Management and Budget just concluded a review of a proposal to repeal this entry ban, which is a first and very big step towards ending this policy.On changing minds:
There are unjust laws to overturn and unfair practices to stop. And though we've made progress, there are still fellow citizens, perhaps neighbors or even family members and loved ones, who still hold fast to worn arguments and old attitudes; who fail to see your families like their families; and who would deny you the rights that most Americans take for granted. And I know this is painful and I know it can be heartbreaking.The entire speech below...
...And yet all of you continue, leading by the force of the arguments you make but also by the power of the example that you set in your own lives -- as parents and friends, as PTA members and leaders in the community. And that's important, and I'm glad that so many LGBT families could join us today. (Applause.) For we know that progress depends not only on changing laws but also changing hearts.
(PS: I absolutely abhor MSNBC's new graphics package.)