Obama Pledges DADT Repeal

A look at President Obama's first State of the Union address.

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This is not the first time a president has mentioned LGBT equality in a State of the Union speech. President Bill Clinton called for employment nondiscrimination and hate-crimes protections in his 1999 address.

“Discrimination or violence because of race or religion, ancestry or gender, disability, or sexual orientation is wrong and it ought to be illegal,” Clinton said. “Therefore, I ask Congress to make the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and the Hate Crimes Prevention Act the law of the land.”

Ten years later, President Barack Obama signed that LGBT-inclusive hate crimes legislation into law.

“We finally strengthened our laws to protect against crimes driven by hate,” Obama noted during his speech.

Obama also sounded aspirational notes of hope and resilience during his address.

“I have never been more hopeful about America’s future than I am tonight,” he said. “Despite our hardships, our union is strong. We do not give up. We do not quit. We don’t allow fear or division to break our spirit. In this new decade, it’s time the American people get a government that matches their decency; that embodies their strength.”

But for LGBT Americans, this year will be a game of wait and see.

As Frank said, “It remains to be seen whether action will be paired with words.”

 

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