Obama: Marriage Equality Probably Won’t Be 2016 Issue
President Barack Obama made it clear on Sunday that marriage equality won’t be a focal issue in 2016. He suggested that the United States had “come too far” since his original campaign in 2004.
“Tonight we live in an America where ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ is something that ‘don’t exist,’ ” he said to cheers and applause at the beginning of his remarks to a Democratic National Committee LGBT gala in New York.
He celebrated the progress that has been made and questioned cynics who claimed that marriage equality would be “too messy.”
“Now, look, for some Americans, there’s no doubt that this change has been a whirlwind. And we believe that these changes have been for the better,” he said, adding that there are “still parts of the country that are getting there, but it’s going to take some time.”
He acknowledged the importance of religious freedom, but not at the expense of an individual’s right to freedom and happiness.
“But we also have to say clearly that our religious freedom doesn’t grant us the freedom to deny our fellow Americans their constitutional rights,” he added. “We’ve got to keep striving every day to treat each other the way I believe God sees us, as equal in His eyes.”
The Hill reports:
Obama called on the crowd to stand up to bigotry and stand up for freedom — “not just our own freedom, but for everybody’s freedom.”
“We speak up to condemn hatred against anybody — gay or straight, black or white, Christian, Muslim, Jew, non-believer, immigrant — because we remember what silence felt like when hatred was directed at us, and we’ve got to be champions on behalf of justice for everybody, not just our own,” he said.
Obama also listed some of his accomplishments in his remarks, pointing to the 5.1 percent unemployment rate and his signature healthcare reform legislation.
“We were told ObamaCare would kill jobs, explode the deficit, destroy freedom. Today we see 66 consecutive months of private sector job growth, a streak that happened to begin when I signed ObamaCare into law,” he said.
He also said the administration has made “Incredible progress when it comes to climate change.”
Obama on Monday will speak to the United Nations General Assembly, where he is expected to make the case that nations succeed when they work cooperatively.
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