President Barack Obama hosted a celebration marking the 40th Anniversary of the Stonewall riots yesterday, a first in the history of the White House. Around 300 LGBT leaders attended, and Obama addressed recent frustration that the gay community has had with the new administration.

Obama reiterated his campaign promises to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, enact federal hate crimes protections, and repeal the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” military policy.

“I’ve called on Congress to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act to help end discrimination against same-sex couples in this country. I’m also urging Congress to pass the Domestic Partners Benefits and Obligations Act, which will guarantee the full range of benefits, including health care, to LGBT couples and their children. My administration is also working hard to pass an employee non-discrimination bill and hate crimes bill, and we’re making progress on both fronts.

And finally, I want to say a word about “don’t ask, don’t tell.” As I said before – I’ll say it again – I believe “don’t ask, don’t tell” doesn’t contribute to our national security. In fact, I believe preventing patriotic Americans from serving their country weakens our national security,” the President said to an enthusiastic crowd.

Prominent LGBT activists were generally happy with what the president had to say.

“President Obama’s remarks today were welcomed and appreciated and, as he stated, it is the actions to advance equality — not simply the words — that will be the true marker by which this White House will be judged,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.

Jarrett Barrios, incoming President of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), who also attended the event said:

“Our community will continue to advocate and will be watching closely to ensure Obama makes good on the promises he discussed today and during the campaign. At the heart of the issues discussed today are everyday Americans who want the same chance as everyone else to earn a living, be safe in their communities, serve their country, and take care of the ones they love.”

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