How do we say goodbye, but more importantly express our profound gratitude, to the President who has done as much for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community, as the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama? Our words seem so insignificant at this moment in time, next to his. That is because even his simplest words made history as he was the first to mention us directly in an Inaugural Address and in the State of the Union.
He took actions that made possible the kinds of opportunity and equality many of us only dreamed about. Thanks to President Obama and his administration, we cannot be denied health coverage based on who we are; we can serve our country openly; and we can marry who we love in every state. It’s hard to imagine what our lives would be like today without him, but suffice it to say they would drastically different. Here is only the “short list” of LGBT advancements under President Obama.
- October 2009, President Obama signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which took eleven years to get passed.
- March 2010, the Affordable Care Act was signed into law. Insurance companies were no longer able to discriminate against anyone due to pre-existing conditions (like HIV/AIDS), or able to turn anyone away just because he or she was lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.
- 2010, President Obama developed and released the first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States, addressing the disparities faced especially by gay and bisexual men of all races and ethnicities and transgender women of color.
- December 2010, President Obama signed bipartisan legislation to repeal “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.”
- February 2011, the President and Attorney General announced that the Department of Justice would no longer defend the “Defense of Marriage Act’s” provision defining marriage as only between a man and woman.
- June 2013, after the United States v. Windsordecision, in which the Supreme Court struck down the “Defense of Marriage Act” as unconstitutional, the President instructed his Cabinet to review over 1,000 Federal statutes and regulations to ensure the decision was implemented swiftly.
- June 9, 2015, the Henry Gerber House in Chicago, IL was designated a National Historic Landmark.
- June 2015, after the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, legalizing same-sex marriage, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced proposed regulations for federal tax purposes and the Social Security Administration began to recognize all valid same-sex marriage s for purposes of determining entitlement to benefits.
- 2015, President Obama also issued a presidential memorandum that directed all Federal agencies engaged abroad to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons.
- June 24th, 2016 President Obama designated The Stonewall National Monument in New York City, around the Stonewall Inn, birthplace of the modern gay rights movement. It is the first in the National Park System to specifically highlight the history of the LGBT community.
Thank you for every battle you’ve fought on behalf of the LGBT Community, the example you’ve set, and we promise to continue fighting for dignity, justice, and equality in America.
With deepest respect,
For a full and detailed list of the Obama Administration’s record of LGBT advancements see: