Obama welcomed community leaders, students, politicians and members of the armed services for the annual event and paid tribute to the generations of LGBT Americans who “devoted their lives to our most basic of ideals –- equality not just for some, but for all.”
This year’s event carried a more personal tone for attendees than in previous years, as it was the first Pride reception since the official repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and the President’s own evolution on the issue of marriage equality.
“After decades of inaction and indifference, you have every reason and right to push, loudly and forcefully, for equality,” Obama said in his remarks.
“But three years ago, I also promised you this: I said that even if it took more time than we would like, we would see progress, we would see success, we would see real and lasting change. And together, that’s what we’re witnessing.”
In acknowledging military members present at the reception, Obama said, “I’m happy to see you with your partners here,” as he was interrupted by applause three times. “We thank your families for their service, and we share your joy at being able to come with your spouses or partners here to the White House with your Commander-in-Chief.”
“As long as I have the privilege of being your President, I promise you, you won’t just have a friend in the White House, you will have a fellow advocate for an America where no matter what you look like or where you come from or who you love, you can dream big dreams and dream as openly as you want,” Obama said.
A transcript of the President’s full remarks is here.