BY Kerry Eleveld
January 27 2010 8:35 PM ET
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.
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
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.
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.”