In addition to being named “Ally of the Year” as part of their OUT100, President Obama becomes the first sitting President to be photographed for the cover of an LGBT publication.
From the editors of OUT Magazine:
The 44th President of the United States is our Ally of the Year—a president who came to office on a wave of euphoria, appeared to lose momentum halfway through, and has since rallied, helping us secure marriage equality, among other landmark initiatives that are transforming our place in America.
This is the first time a sitting president has been photographed for the cover of an LGBT title, a historic moment in itself, and a statement on how much his administration has done to advance a singularly volatile issue that tarnished the reputations of both President Clinton and President Bush. It might have tarnished this president, too, but for his late-hour conversion in 2012, which set the stage for the extraordinary succession of events that led to this year’s Supreme Court ruling, on June 26, making it unconstitutional to deny same-sex couples the right to wed.
Many things led up to that decision — “decades of our brothers and sisters fighting for recognition and equality” as the president notes — but once his administration decided to join that fight it created what people like to call a “transformative” moment. It helped tip the balance, and it put our elected leader on the right side of justice.
From the Q&A with the President:
On his administration’s key focus on LGBT equality:
“One of the reasons I got involved in politics was to help deliver on our promise that we’re all created equal, and that no one should be excluded from the American dream just because of who they are. That’s why, in the Senate, I supported repealing DOMA [the Defense of Marriage Act]. It’s why, when I ran for president the first time, I publicly asked for the support of the LGBT community, and promised that we could bring about real change for LGBT Americans.”
On the Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision:
“There had been a remarkable attitude shift—in hearts and minds—across America. The ruling reflected that. It reflected our values as a nation founded on the principle that we are all created equal. And, by the way, it was decades of our brothers and sisters fighting for recognition and equality—and too frequently risking their lives or facing rejection from family, friends, and co-workers—that got us to that moment. So I wasn’t surprised by the Supreme Court’s decision, but, like millions of Americans, I was proud and happy that it came down the way it did—and I was honored to stand in the Rose Garden and reiterate for every American that we are strongest, that we are most free, when all of us are treated equally. I was proud to say that love is love.”
On the controversy surrounding Kentucky clerk Kim Davis:
“I am a man of faith and believe deeply in religious freedom, but at the end of the day, nobody is above the rule of law—especially someone who voluntarily takes an oath to uphold that law. That’s something we’ve got to respect.”
On the first influential gay person in his life:
“I’m not sure who the first openly gay person I met was, but Dr. Lawrence Goldyn, one of my college professors, is a man who stands out to me. I took his class freshman year at Occidental. I was probably 18 years old—Lawrence was one of the younger professors—and we became good friends. He went out of his way to advice lesbian, gay, and transgender students at Occidental, and keep in mind, this was 1978. That took a lot of courage, a lot of confidence in who you are and what you stand for. I got to recognize Lawrence last year at our Pride Month reception at the White House, and thank him for influencing the way I think about so many of these issues.”
On the generational difference in the attitudes towards homosexuality:
“To Malia and Sasha and their friends, discrimination in any form against anyone doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t dawn on them that friends who are gay or friends’ parents who are same-sex couples should be treated differently than anyone else. That’s powerful.”