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Obama: Public accepts efforts for equal rights for gays

- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 9, 2012

President Obama told supporters at a gay fundraiser Thursday night that the public "readily accepts" his administration's efforts to grant equal rights to gay citizens.

"The work that we've done with the LGBT community, I think, is just profoundly American," Mr. Obama said at a $35,800-per-head fundraiser at a home in Northwest Washington. "You should be judged on the merits — not by what you look like, not by how you worship, not by where you come from, not by who you love."

The president was introduced by Laura Ricketts, the first openly gay owner of a major-league baseball team and a big-money fundraiser for the president. She is part owner of the Chicago Cubs.

She told the group that the event was being held "to show the president that the LGBT community stands strongly behind his re-election."

"I know the president stands with us," she said.

Mr. Obama told the gathering of about 40 supporters that the public's acceptance of his pro-gay agenda has been "striking."

"Because we've rooted this work in this concept of fairness, and we haven't gone out of our way to grab credit for it, we haven't gone out of our way to call other folks names when they didn't always agree with us ... what's been remarkable is how readily the public recognizes this is the right thing to do," the president said.

He mentioned particularly his administration's efforts to extend hospital visitation rights to same-sex couples and the ending of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy on gay soldiers.

The president said the perception with DADT is that it would be a "huge, ugly issue."

"Because we did it methodically … since it happened, nothing's happened," Mr. Obama said. "There hasn't been any notion of erosion in unit cohesion."

He said during his Christmas vacation in Hawaii, as he worked out at a gym on a Marine base, at least three Marines came up to him in the gym and quietly told him "thank you" for ending DADT.

"I didn't even know whether or not they were gay or lesbian," Mr. Obama said. "I didn't ask. That wasn't the point."

He told the group that there is "more work" to do on gay issues.

"There's still areas where fairness is not the rule," he said. "We're going to have to keep on pushing."

The event was hosted by Karen Dixon and Dr. Nan Schaffer.

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