View From the Hill - A Presidential Invitation

President Barack Obama will have the chance to commit America to the work of providing equality to its LGBT citizens when he addresses activists at a White House reception Monday. Let's hope it doesn't become a missed opportunity.

BY Kerry Eleveld

June 27 2009 12:00 AM ET

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"It's easier for them to turn their backs on you and me," he told me. "But I have to believe that when people understand the harm that is caused to the 1.5 million LGBT teens in this country, it adds a whole different perspective."

Mitchell Gold's efforts, while laudable, would most likely have been tossed atop the trash heap of pleasantries that politicians routinely extend to donors at the dime-a-dozen fundraisers they attend. But based on the stand taken by a number of prominent LGBT dissenters, Democratic leaders might just have been paying attention Thursday.

What we need Washington to realize is something I heard John Berry, the highest ranking gay official in the Obama administration, proclaim at the Velvet Foundation event: "Our story is the American story!" he exclaimed, sweeping his clenched fist through the air. Seems so simple and yet it washed over me like a revelation. I guess that's because until very recently, America has swept our history under the rug. LGBT concerns weren't worthy of being reported on, they were only relevant to the national political framework insofar as they could whip up money or votes, and it was OK to meet with gays behind closed doors but standing up for them publicly was lunacy.

This coming Monday, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans from the across the country will attend a White House reception to celebrate the birth of our equality movement 40 years ago. In front of LGBT advocates, the White House press corps, and a national audience, President Barack Obama - among the most eloquent of national leaders in our history - will have an opportunity to make our story the American story. And if he takes the invitation to help orient America on the path toward our equality, the arc of the nation's moral universe would further its bend in the just direction.

Tags: Politics

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