The Obamas received hundreds for the LGBT reception in the East Room of the White House
Despite skepticism among the gay community and a wary sense that President Obama might not have the courage to deliver on his campaign promises, he got a pretty good reception from LGBT attendees at his Pride Month reception at the White House Monday.
Obama drew early and enthusiastic applause from the crowd of 250-300 LGBT families, volunteers, community leaders, federal employees, state and local lawmakers, and heads of LGBT lobbying/activist organizations gathered in the East Room as he called out greetings to openly gay appointees and gay rights activists, then delivered remarks for about 20 minutes. (Hear audio of Obama's remarks here.)
"Welcome to your White House," he said to the crowd as he addressed it.
As noted elsewhere, Obama has yet to earn the trust of many in the gay political community. His administration hasn't prioritized a repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell in Congress; its Justice Department defended the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the Clinton-signed bill that defines marriage as between a man and a woman--an opinion that's been called insulting to the gay community. He doesn't believe in gay marriage. The message gays have been gleaning from the administration thusfar is: be patient.
President Obama promised the Gay Community won't be disappointed in the end
"We seek an America in which no one feels the pain of discrimination based on who you are or who you love, and I know that many in this room don't believe that progress has come fast enough, and I understand that," he said. "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 that I made, but by promises that my administration keeps ... We've been in office six months now. I suspect that by the time this administration is over, I think you guys will have pretty good feelings about the Obama administration."
But Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told Chuck Todd of MSNBC/NBC that by 2012 DOMA will be repealed: