On Friday, Ellen DeGeneres tried to thank President Barack Obama for work towards LGBTQ rights and protections, and he made sure to thank her in return.
After Ellen praised Obama for his championing of same-sex marriage, his orders to protect LGBTQ people in the workplace, and his repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t tell, Obama responded:
As much as we’ve done with laws and ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, etc., changing hearts and minds, I don’t think anybody’s been more influential than you on that.…
Your courage, and you’re just really likable… You being willing to claim who you were then suddenly empowers other people. And then suddenly it’s your brother, it’s your uncle, it’s your best friend, it’s your co-workers. And then attitudes shift, and the laws followed. But it started with folks like you.
If you talk to advocacy groups, they’ll tell you a very similar narrative. Freedom to Marry in particular is credited with changing hearts and minds — which allowed the laws to change by building support — by getting people to simply come out to their friends and families. Once that happened, people realized that same-sex couples are, really, just like opposite-sex couples. And so change swept through America.”
Watch the segment below: