Yesterday, President Obama welcomed a couple hundred or so gay “leaders” to the White House. His press secretary insists that it was nothing more than a commemoration of the 40th anniversary of Stonewall, others contend that it was another stab by the Obama administration at mollifying the gays, especially after its first shoddy attempt only succeeded in further aggravating the lavender mob whose anger had reached a fever pitch.
The president did acknowledge the LGBT community’s frustration.
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 anymore than it was for others to counsel patience to African-Americans who were petitioning for equal rights a half-century ago. 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 …I suspect that by the time this administration is over, I think you guys will have pretty good feelings about the Obama administration.
However, we should acknowledge that yesterday was a first. As Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson enthused:
The very fact that he would invite 200 LGBT leaders from across the nation on the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the gay liberation movement is just an astounding thing … Most people were standing around not believing they were actually guests in the White House.
And he also gave us more words to which we can hold him accountable.
So we are all witnesses to monumental changes in this country. That should give us hope, but we cannot rest. We must continue to do our part to make progress step by step, law by law, mind by changing mind. And I want you to know that, in this task, I will not only be your friend; I will continue to be an ally and a champion and a president who fights with you and for you.
We will remind you Mr. President. Again, and again, and again.