President Obama speaks at the White House LGBT reception
President Obama outlined his successes at a LGBT Pride reception at the White House on Wednesday but activists say that he still needs to publicly support marriage equality.
At the event, attended by politicians, journalists and activists, Obama re-stated the advances in LGBT equality brought about by his administration.
“I think it’s important for us to note the progress that’s been made just in the last two and a half years,” said Obama.
He went on to list the passing of the Matthew Shepard hate crimes law, ending discrimination against same-sex partners in government hospitals and lifting the ban on HIV people travelling to the US.
He also noted his efforts to end the law that bans same-sex marriages or unions being recognised by the federal government and the pending repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban on gay and lesbian military personnel.
His speech was warmly welcomed by the audience but the President’s refusal to say that he supports same-sex marriage rights continues to frustrate many activists.
“He says he’s evolving, I believe him…”
While Obama is in support of recognising same-sex unions he has not committed to full marriage equality and has said that he prefers to allow each state to decide on the matter.
More recently he commented that he is “evolving” on the issue.
That prompted columnist and activist Dan Savage to wear a button to the reception that proclaimed: “Evolve already.”
“I believe the president should evolve,” Savage told reporter Julie Mason. “He says he’s evolving, I believe him. I want to hurry him along.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Obama was asked by reporters at a press conference several times about marriage equality but avoided committing to a position on the issue.
“I think it’s important for us to work through these issues because each state is going to be different and each community is going to be different,” he said.
When asked if he personally supports same-sex marriage, he replied: “I’m not going to make news on that today. Good try though. I’ll keep on giving you the same answer until I get a different one.”