In the midst of growing criticism and frustration from the LGBT community for failing to act on many of his campaign promises including the repeal of 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' and the so-called 'Defense of Marriage Act', President Barack Obama commemorated the 40th Anniversary of Stonewall by inviting 250-300 LGBT leaders for a "cocktail and appetizer" in the East Room of the White House earlier today.
Obama responded to his critics, many of who were sitting in the room, regarding their disappointment on his adminstration's inability to take action on LGBT issues:
"I know that many in this room don't believe that progress has come fast enough, and I understand that. It's not for me to tell you to be patient, any more 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 I've made, but by the promises that my administration keeps."
LGBT leaders including Joe Solmonese of The Human Rights Campaign welcomed Obama's comments but in a statement released after the event said "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."
Of the nearly 300 invited guests several black gay and lesbian leaders were in attendance including Bishop Yvette Flunder, Jason Bartlett,Wilson Cruz, Denise Simmons, Cornelius Baker, Stampp Corbin, Earl Fowlkes, Dr. Sylvia Rhue, and Phil Wilson to name a few.
By the time he leaves office, the president said, "I think you guys will have pretty good feelings about the Obama administration." Well that remains to be seen. Let's hope so.
Read the full transcript of President Obama's speech and view the complete guest list via Towleroad. Watch the Presiden't speech below:
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