President Obama Speaks at Pride Month Celebration

The President: Hello, everybody. (applause) Well, I want to thank
Jim and Patrick. First of all, I
think they supported me in my state Senate campaign. (laughter) Those were some
early supporters, and we might not be here
if it hadn’t been for them. Congratulations on finally
tying the knot after 51 years. (applause) I looked it up, and
depending on how you count, the traditional gift for your
next anniversary is either paper, for year one —
or whatever you want, because there is no
traditional gift for 52 years. (laughter) But I think it’s so
important to understand how rare relationships
like yours are. And however you celebrate,
we hope you have many, many more years together. And with that, why
don’t you guys sit down, because that knee is acting up. (laughter) I want all of you to know
how much it means to us for you to be able to join here at
this year’s Pride Celebration. We’ve got some terrific public
servants who are here today, including our Secretary
of Labor Tom Perez. (applause) We’ve got mayors, and
we’ve got state legislators, and we’ve got LGBT members
of my administration. We also have three judges
that I was proud to name to the federal bench:
Todd Hughes, Judy Levy and Nitza Quinones Alejandro. Give them a big
round of applause. (applause) Before I took office, we
had only one openly gay federal judge to be
confirmed by the Senate. Now, along with Todd, Judy,
and Nitza, that number is 11. So we’re making some progress. (applause) Three other people
I want to mention. First of all, Tobias Wolff,
who’s been advising me since my first presidential campaign
and has had a great impact on my administration
and how we’ve thought about a bunch of issues. Please give Tobias a
big round of applause. (applause) Number two — a special
treat for me — my college professor when I
was a freshman in college at Occidental, Dr.
Lawrence Goldyn is here. I want to just talk a
little bit about Lawrence. When I went in as a
freshman — this is 1979 at Occidental College —
and according to Lawrence, I guess there were maybe a
couple of other gay professors, but they weren’t
wildly open about it. Lawrence was not shy. (laughter) And I took a class from him, and because he was one
of the young professors, we became really good friends. But also, he was the first
openly gay person that I knew who was unapologetic,
who stood his ground. If somebody gave him guff, he’d
give them guff right back, and was I think part of a
generation that really fought so many battles that ultimately
came into fruition later. And he also played a huge
role in advising lesbian, gay and transgender students
at the school at a time when that was still hard for a
lot of young college kids. And he went on to become a
doctor and ran an AIDS clinic, and now is the head
of a health center. But I just wanted to acknowledge
him because he helped shape how I think about
so many of these issues, and those sort of quiet
heroes that sometimes don’t get acknowledged. So give Lawrence a
big round of applause. (applause) Finally, I have to mention
a man who’s made life at the White House very sweet. This is one of Michelle and my
favorite people — our executive pastry chef Bill Yosses — (laughter) who’s here tonight with
his husband, Charlie. (applause) Where’s Bill? Mrs. Obama: But he’s leaving. The President: He’s —
this is the problem. We call Bill the “Crustmaster”
because his pies — I don’t know what he does, whether
he puts crack in them, or — (laughter) but — Mrs. Obama: No, he doesn’t. (laughter) There is no crack
in our pies. (laughter) The President: I’m just
saying that when we first came to the White House, I don’t
know if some of you remember this — the first year,
like, my cholesterol shot up. (laughter) And the doctor was
like, what happened? You had like this
really low cholesterol. You were really healthy. And I thought, it’s the pie. (laughter) It’s the pie. (laughter) So we had to establish like
a really firm rule about no pie during the week. (laughter) But he’s also just
a wonderful person. And after seven years, he’s
leaving the White House. So we just want to give Bill
and Charlie the best of luck. And we love them. Thank you. (applause) So a lot has happened
in the year since we last gathered here together. Same-sex marriage has gone into
effect in 10 more states — (applause) — which means that 43
percent of Americans now live in states where you’re
free to marry who you love. The NFL drafted its
first openly gay player. (applause) Harvey Milk got a stamp. (applause) Laverne Cox was on
the cover of TIME. (applause) Coca-Cola and Honeymaid
were unafraid to sell their products in commercials
showing same-sex parents and their children. (applause) And perhaps most
importantly, Mitch and Cam got married, which caused
Michelle and the girls to cry. (laughter and applause) That was big. (laughter) Mrs. Obama: It was big. The President: This
year, we mark the 45th anniversary of Stonewall. And I know some
of you were there. And this tremendous progress
we’ve made as a society is thanks to those of you who
fought the good fight, and to Americans across the
country who marched and came out and organized to secure
the rights of others. So I want to thank all of you
for making the United States a more just and
compassionate place. I want to thank you for
offering support and guidance to our administration. Because of your help, we’ve
gone further in protecting the rights of lesbian and gay
and bisexual and transgender Americans than any
administration in history. (applause) In 2009, I told you at this
reception that I would sign an inclusive hate crimes
bill with Matthew Shepard’s name on it, and I did — because
hate-driven violence has taken the lives of too many
people in this community, and it has to end. When we came together in
2010, I told you we’d repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Some of you didn’t believe me. (laughter) You know who you are. (laughter) We did that, too —
because nobody should have to hide who you love to serve
the country you love. (applause) That same year, we
released the first-ever comprehensive National HIV/AIDS
Strategy to unite our entire government behind fighting
this disease and helping those most at risk. (applause) In 2011, I said my
administration would no longer defend the so-called
Defense of Marriage Act. And thanks to Edie
Windsor, and Robbie Kaplan, and the Department of Justice,
that law was overturned, and we’ve extended benefits
to legally married same-sex couples
across the country. (applause) In 2012, I promised
that my administration would do more to address and prevent
bullying and discrimination in our classrooms. And we have — because it’s
not enough just to say it gets better; we have to
actually make it better, like so many Americans are
trying to do every day. We’ve got here
today Pete Cahall, who is the principal of Woodrow
Wilson High here in Washington. (applause) At a school Pride
event this month, inspired by brave
students, Pete stood up and said something he’d
never said at the school before, which is: “I am
a proud gay man.” And the students all cheered. Pete is here today. Because of his example, more
young people know they don’t have to be afraid to be who they
are; no matter who they love, people have their backs. So we’re proud of you. (applause) Last year, I promised
to implement the Affordable Care Act so
this community could get quality, affordable health
care like you deserve. And we did that, too. (applause) And thanks to that law, you
can no longer be denied health insurance on the basis
of your sexual orientation or gender identity. (applause) We’ve still got a
little more work to do. I’ve repeatedly called
on Congress to pass the Employment
Non-Discrimination Act. Right now, there are more states
that let same-sex couples get married than there are states
who prohibit discrimination against their LGBT workers. We have laws that say Americans
can’t be fired on the basis of the color of their
skin or their religion, or because they
have a disability. But every day, millions of
Americans go to work worried that they could lose
their job — not because of anything they’ve done — (baby cries) — I know, it’s terrible (laughter) — but because of
who they are. It’s upsetting. It is wrong. The majority of Fortune
500 companies already have nondiscrimination policies to
protect their employees because it’s the right thing to
do and because many say it helps to retain and
attract the best talent. And I agree. So if Congress
won’t act, I will. I have directed my staff to
prepare an executive order for my signature that prohibits
discrimination by federal contractors on the basis
of sexual orientation and gender identity. (applause) And I’ve asked my staff
to prepare a second executive order so that federal
employees — who are already protected on the basis of sexual
orientation — will now formally be protected from
discrimination based on gender identity as well. (applause) So we’ve got a lot
to be proud of, but obviously we
can’t grow complacent. We’ve got to defend the
progress that we’ve made. We’ve got to keep on reaching
out to LGBT Americans who are vulnerable and alone, and need
our support — whether it’s teenagers in rough situations to
seniors who are struggling to find housing and care. (baby cries) I know, it’s tough. (laughter) We’ve got to keep
fighting for an AIDS-free generation, and for the human
rights of LGBT persons around the world. (applause) And I would also ask all
of us to direct some of the energy and passion
and resources of this movement towards other
injustices that exist. Because one of the things that I
think we should have learned — (applause) — Dr. King said an “injustice
anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” And that means that we’ve got to
be able to set up a community that extends beyond our own
particular narrow interests; we’ve got to make sure that
we’re reaching out to others who need our help as well. (applause) And that means fighting
for poor kids. And it means fighting for
workers to get a decent wage. It means showing compassion for
the undocumented worker who is contributing to our society
and just wants a chance to come out of the shadows. (applause) It means fighting for
equal pay for equal work. It means standing up for sexual
— standing up against sexual violence wherever it occurs. It means trying to eliminate any
vestige of racial or religious discrimination and anti-Semitism
wherever it happens. That’s how we continue our
nation’s march towards justice and equality. That’s how we build a more
perfect union — a country where no matter what you look
like, where you come from, what your last name
is, who you love, you’ve got a chance
to make it if you try. You guys have shown what
can happen when people of goodwill organize and
stand up for what’s right. And we’ve got to make sure
that that’s not applied just one place, in one
circumstance, in one time. That’s part of the journey
that makes America the greatest country on Earth. So thank you, everybody. God bless you. God bless America. (applause)

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