More Respond to Obama Announcement

More reaction, largely positive, from activist leaders.

BY Advocate.com Editors

May 09 2012 3:21 PM ET

Capehart, Gillibrand, Olson

Reactions continue:

Anthony D. Romero, executive director, American Civil Liberties Union: “President Obama is doing the right thing and showing leadership by recognizing that lesbians and gays should be treated as equal citizens. The freedom to marry whomever we love and want to share our life with is fundamental to who we are and what we stand for as a country. The fight for fairness and equal treatment under the law for all Americans took a critical step forward today.”

 

Anthony Martinez, executive director of the Civil Rights Agenda, based in Obama's former hometown, Chicago: “I'm proud to be an Illinoisan today. The state that promoted Abraham Lincoln may now also claim the president who will work to end government sanctioned discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. He understands that his legacy rests on the basic issues of civil rights. Like President Lincoln, President Obama knows this is what makes our country great. Today’s announcement by President Obama is not only historic, but is a major step forward for LGBT Americans who every day live with the idea that we are supposed to be equal citizens and are supposed to have the same rights as everyone else, but that is not the case. We are second class citizens in the land of the free. Today, the president has taken a firm stand that all people should be equal. No matter who one loves, every citizen should be able to access the same rights and responsibilities of the civil institution of marriage.”

Rick Garcia, policy adviser for the Civil Rights Agenda: “This is an amazing moment. The president was a supporter of our issues since I worked with him in the Illinois Senate. Frankly, President Obama has been on record supporting gay marriage, when he ran for Senate. This just shows us that politically, LGBT issues are not the wedge issue they once were. We are in a new era and we must continue to build the momentum towards full and equal rights for all LGBT Americans. Now we just have to make sure LGBT folks get out and vote in this upcoming election.”

 

Windy City Times publisher Tracy Baim, whose newspaper (then called Outlines) carried Obama's statement of support for marriage equality in his 1996 state Senate run, on her Facebook page: “He did it -- he came back to truth, back to reality.”

 

Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart, on his Facebook page: “This is a great day to be an American.”

 

Shannon Minter, legal director, National Center for Lesbian Rights: “President Obama has once again proven himself to be the strongest and most principled supporter of full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people ever to occupy the Oval Office. As he has done on so many other issues facing our community, the president showed his great depth of compassion and respect for the struggles faced by same-sex couples and their families and his commitment to genuine equality and justice for all people. This is an unforgettable day in our nation's history, and one that will bring enormous comfort and hope to millions of Americans.”

 

U.S. senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York: “The president's unequivocal support today in favor of all committed couples to marry the person they love is a watershed moment in American history that will provide the leadership needed to finally repeal DOMA and win the unfinished fight for equality for all Americans.

“I was personally thrilled. It's going to strengthen our argument. I think people appreciate when you're fighting for equality and against discrimination. I've always believe that the president would come ou strongly in favor of marriage equality.”

 

Justin Ruben, executive director of MoveOn.org: “This is a historic day. The president's support for marriage equality is great news that's likely to energize progressive activists across the country.”

 

Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress: “We applaud the president's decision as it is another large step toward realizing this country's promise of equality. Indeed, President Obama today helped bend the arc of history toward justice. And his stance will be remembered as such.”

Winnie Stachelberg, executive vice president for external affairs, Center for American Progress: “President Obama made history today when he came out in full support of marriage rights for gay couples. Many Americans have thought about this issue and, like the president, have reconsidered their feelings about it. His journey is our journey.”

 

Theodore B. Olson, co-lead counsel in the American Foundation for Equal Rights federal lawsuit against California's Proposition 8: “Today is a proud day for all Americans. The bedrock American principles of freedom and human dignity are central to the political and legal convictions of Republicans, Democrats, liberals, and conservatives alike. President Obama’s words remind us that marriage and equality are universal values that unite us all.  They remind us that we are all — as a people and a nation — striving to form a more perfect union.”

 

Gerald W. McEntee, president, and Lee Saunders, secretary-treasurer of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees: “President Obama’s announcement today recognizes a fundamental American right -- that every citizen is entitled to respect and dignity, and the equal protection of our laws. For too long, lesbian and gay Americans have been denied the right to marry the person they love, raise a family and live as equal citizens in our country. They are denied access to pension benefits, Social Security survivor benefits, family health and bereavement leave and family immigration rights. That discrimination harms all of us, not just LGBT Americans. We have an obligation to work to overturn unjust laws and amendments to state constitutions that codify prejudice and promote discrimination against fellow citizens. The president deserves praise for recognizing that this issue is about equality under the law and the right of all Americans to live their lives free from discrimination.”

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