President Barack Obama hosted a reception at the White House on Tuesday to honor LGBT Pride Month, and vowed to push ahead with his gay rights agenda, assuring an audience of mostly gay men and women that he remains committed to repealing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
The president pointed to progress on a variety of issues important to gay men and lesbians, including expansion of hospital visitation rights for same-sex partners, steps toward eliminating Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the military’s policy barring gay men and women from serving openly, and passage of the Matthew Shepard Act, the historic hate crimes prevention bill signed into law in October 2009 that expands federal civil rights protections to include crimes against individuals based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Advocates for gay rights groups say they are pleased, but are looking for more.
The Family Equality Council issued a statement praising Obama for “small but significant steps’’ he has taken toward LGBT equality, but said “big-ticket items” such as repeal of DOMA, passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), and gay adoptions “have yet to be addressed.”
Following is Obama’s address at the reception: