President Obama addresses LGBT issues in 2015 State of the Union

By : Jamie Hyman
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President Barak Obama mentioned LGBT and marriage equality several times in last night’s 2015 State of the Union address, mostly in the context of applauding recent gains.

First, President Obama placed LGBT rights in the context of human dignity and safety:

“As Americans, we respect human dignity, even when we’re threatened, which is why I’ve prohibited torture, and worked to make sure our use of new technology like drones is properly constrained. It’s why we speak out against the deplorable anti-Semitism that has resurfaced in certain parts of the world. It’s why we continue to reject offensive stereotypes of Muslims — the vast majority of whom share our commitment to peace. That’s why we defend free speech, and advocate for political prisoners, and condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. We do these things not only because they’re right, but because they make us safer.”

Later in the speech, he talked about progress made toward marriage equality.

“I’ve seen something like gay marriage go from a wedge issue used to drive us apart to a story of freedom across our country, a civil right now legal in states that seven in ten Americans call home,” President Obama said.

Finally, he mentioned gay people as he moved toward closing his speech, in the context of how he wants this particular time to be remembered in history.

“I want future generations to know that we are a people who see our differences as a great gift, that we are a people who value the dignity and worth of every citizen — man and woman, young and old, black and white, Latino and Asian, immigrant and Native American, gay and straight, Americans with mental illness or physical disability,” the President said.

Among the attendees for the Jan. 20 address were Todd and Jeff Delmay, six South Florida plaintiff couples, who along with Equality Florida Institute, sued for the right to obtain marriage licenses. Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage ended Jan. 6.

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