Farewell, and Thank You President Obama


Last night, President Obama bid the nation farewell. As much as it pains us to say goodbye, we are grateful for all he did during his time in office to stand up for LGBT rights. Thanks to his administration, we have these bright, shining moments on our timeline, and may their brightness never fade away. Let’s celebrate the fact that under President Obama, these amazing things happened for the LGBT community. 

President Obama Gave Us Marriage Equality

In 2011, the Obama administration announced that the Department of Justice would no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act, which stated that marriage must be defined as only between a man and woman. This paved the way for the 2013 United States v. Windsor Supreme Court decision to strike down section 3 of DOMA, declaring it unconstitutional.

In 2015, marriage equality became the law of the land after the Supreme Court’s historic decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. 

“This ruling is a victory for Jim Obergefell and the other plaintiffs in the case.  It’s a victory for gay and lesbian couples who have fought so long for their basic civil rights.  It’s a victory for their children, whose families will now be recognized as equal to any other.  It’s a victory for the allies and friends and supporters who spent years, even decades, working and praying for change to come. And this ruling is a victory for America.  This decision affirms what millions of Americans already believe in their hearts:  When all Americans are treated as equal we are all more free. “ -President Barack Obama

photo: Getty Images

photo: Getty Images

President Obama Helped Make Us Safer

In 2009, new President Obama signed into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which extends the coverage of Federal hate crimes to include attacks based on the victim’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

The President also helped to safeguard our mental health with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) study, which proves “conversion therapy” to be harmful and ineffective. This is part of a greater effort to ban the practice, protecting minors from this type of abuse. 

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President Obama Gave Us Dignity and Upheld Our Humanity

Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to LGBT Americans. Further, the United States Department of Health and Human Services now requires all hospitals to allow visitation rights to LGBT patients.

President Obama signed bipartisan legislation to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell on December 22, 2010. Today, all gay, lesbian, and bisexual Americans are permitted to  serve openly in the Armed Forces without fear of being dismissed from service because of who they are and who they love.

Ed Freeman

Ed Freeman

He developed the first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States in 2010, which was a response to the particular health issues and disparities among gay and bisexual men of all races and ethnicities, and transgender women of color.

The President signed an Executive Order in 2014 prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against any employee or applicant for employment “because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin.”

He acknowledged our civil rights struggles by declaring June LGBT Pride Month during every year of his administration, and designated nine sites as LGBT landmarks and historic places, including the Stonewall National Monument in New York City.

Stonewall National Monument during Pride Month 2015 after the historic Supreme Court ruling for marriage equality.

Stonewall National Monument during Pride Month 2015 after the historic Supreme Court ruling for marriage equality.

Here is his Stonewall Inn announcement. History made. 

This is by no means a comprehensive list, and if you would like to read a full list of all the wonderful things the President implemented, signed into law, began, or helped support, you can view it HERE. Most importantly, the world we know today would look very different without having had him serve as our Commander in Chief. His legacy is one that is truly monumental.

Farewell, Mr. President, and thank you from the bottom of our rainbow-colored hearts. 

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