- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 9, 2016

President Obama praised the gains of the LGBT community Thursday at a White House party, but never mentioned his administration’s controversial move to enforce new rules for bathroom use by transgender students.

At an East Room reception to mark LGBT pride month, Mr. Obama thanked activists for helping his administration “to accomplish some amazing transformations over the last seven and a half years.”

“Together, we’ve proved that change is possible, that progress is possible,” Mr. Obama said, adding that their work has helped to ensure “that every single child feels valued.”

Nearly a dozen states are taking the administration to court over its education guidance last month that instructs public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their gender identity, rather than the gender of their birth certificate.

The president said that children, especially, understand that “discrimination is so last century.”

“We live in America where the laws are finally catching up to the hearts of kids,” Mr. Obama said.

As he wrapped up his remarks, many in the crowd chanted “Four more years!”

The president is believed to be preparing to announce later this month the designation of the first LGBT-themed national monument, by bestowing protected historical status on the Stonewall Inn in New York City, a landmark of the gay-rights movement. He mentioned the Stonewall in his remarks as an important part of the movement but didn’t elaborate.

Among those in the audience was James Obergefell, the plaintiff in the Supreme Court decision last year that guaranteed same-sex couples the right to marry. The president joked that Mr. Obergefell knows Mr. Obama loves him, even if he can’t pronounce his name correctly.

Mr. Obama also urged his guests not to become complacent about their political victories during his administration.

“Progress can be reversed,” the president said. “Securing the gains this country has made requires perseverance and vigilance, and it requires voting. We’re going to have to keep pushing. Tomorrow we go back to work.”

He said their future efforts must include fighting on behalf of all those who suffer discrimination, not just members of the LGBT community.

“It can’t just be about us,” the president said.

The White House said the administration’s support for LGBT rights has included changing the military’s “Dont Ask, Don’t Tell” policy to allow gays to serve openly, rules to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, and expansion of federal hate crimes laws to cover incidents based on a victim’s perceived gender identity.



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