President Obama: 'Change never comes [from] — or at least never begins — in Washington'

Posted on 23 Jun 2010 at 10:42am

President Obama on Tuesday spoke to a group of LGBT activists who were invited to a reception at the White House in honor of National Gay Pride Month.

Above is a video, released by the White House, of the president’s remarks during that reception. And here are a few of the highlights from his speech:

“Now, look, the fact that we’ve got activists here is important because it’s a reminder that change never comes — or at least never begins in – Washington. It begins with acts of compassion — and sometimes defiance — across America. It begins when ordinary people — out of love for a mother or a father, son or daughter, or husband or wife — speak out against injustices that have been accepted for too long. And it begins when these impositions of conscience start opening hearts that had been closed, and when we finally see each other’s humanity, whatever our differences. Now, this struggle is as old as America itself. It’s never been easy. But standing here, I am hopeful. …

“Because I believe in committed — I believe that committed gay and lesbian couples deserve the same rights and responsibilities afforded to any married couple in this country, I have called for Congress to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act.  We are pushing hard to pass an inclusive employee non-discrimination bill. No one in America should be fired because they’re gay. It’s not right, it’s not who we are as Americans, and we are going to put a stop to it.

“And finally, we’re going to end ‘don’t ask don’t tell.’ That is a promise I made as a candidate. It is a promise that I reiterated as president.  It’s one that this administration is going to keep. Now, the only way to lock this in — the only way to get the votes in Congress to roll back this policy — is if we work with the Pentagon, who are in the midst of two wars.”

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