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What Gun Control, LGBT Rights Have in Common

What Gun Control, LGBT Rights Have in Common

President Obama sees a parallel in the changes needed to curb violence and the long, unfinished battle for LGBT equality.

One of the nation's leading LGBT advocacy groups is standing behind President Obama as he takes executive action aimed at preventing more mass killings.

With tears flowing down his cheeks, wiping them away at the memory of 20 first-graders killed in Newtown, Conn., in 2012, Obama made a powerful plea this week to curb firearms sales and keep weapons out of the hands of the mentally ill and potential mass murderers.

And as the Washington Blade reported, Obama referenced the fight for marriage equality and the struggle to achieve LGBT rights as well as other civil rights battles in his 30-minute address from the East Room of the White House.

"It will be hard, and it won't happen overnight," said Obama. "It won't happen during this Congress. It won't happen during my presidency. But a lot of things don't happen overnight. A woman's right to vote didn't happen overnight. The liberation of African- Americans didn't happen overnight. LGBT rights -- that was decades' worth of work. So just because it's hard, that's no excuse not to try."

Obama invoked the memory of the children slain at Sandy Hook.

"Every time I think about those kids it gets me mad," Obama said as the tears flowed. "And by the way, it happens on the streets of Chicago every day."

And Dallas, too, where there have been 14 attacks on LGBT people in recent weeks, some involving guns. And of the 21 trans women killed in 2015 -- a new, frightening record that nearly doubled the death toll from the previous year -- nine women were shot to death. Read more about the 21 trans women killed in the U.S. last year here.

"While our congressional leadership has refused to do anything at all, the President took action to help address our nation's ongoing cycle of gun violence and we will be monitoring its impact," said Rea Carey, National LGBTQ Task Force Executive Director. "If you're not part of the solution you're part of the problem."

Watch President Obama's emotional message about why he's taking action to try to stop gun violence, and his response to critics of expanded background checks, in three clips below from

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