President Obama on Jason Collins’ coming out: The LGBT community deserves recognition that they’re fully part of the American family

At the end of a press conference today, President Obama returned to the microphone to fully articulate his support for Jason Collins, who “came out” yesterday to much fanfare.

Calling him a role model for LGBT youth who are struggling, and a sign of increasing recognition in America, President Obama praised the country’s first openly gay active player in a major sport:

“I told him I couldn’t be prouder. One of the extraordinary measures of progress that we’ve seen in this country has been the recognition that the LGBT community deserves full equality, not just partial equality, not just tolerance, but a recognition that they’re fully a part of the American family.

“Given the importance of sports in our society, for an individual who’s excelled at the highest levels of one of the major sports going to say ‘This is who I am. I’m proud of it. I’m still a great competitor. I’m still seven foot tall and deliver a hard foul’ … for a lot of young people out there who are gay or lesbian who are struggling with these issues, to see a role model like that who is unafraid, it’s a great thing.

“I think America should be proud that this is just one more step in this ongoing recognition that we treat everybody fairly, and everybody’s part of the family and we judge people on the basis of their character and their performance and not their sexual orientation. So, I’m very proud of him.”

(via Instinct)