The Obama campaign on Wednesday
released a video featuring the president discussing his support for
In the 5-minute video, which is
narrated by Jane Lynch, who plays coach Sue Sylvester on the Fox
comedy-musical Glee, Obama said meeting the mother of slain
gay student Matthew Shepard nudged him on his evolution.
“Meeting people like Judy Shepard,
and not only hearing the heartbreaking tragedy of Matthew but also
the strength and determination she brought to making sure that never
happens to young people anywhere in the country again,” Obama said.
“Those stories made me passionate
about this issue,” he added.
Matthew Shepard is the 21-year-old
University of Wyoming student who was beaten, shackled to a post and
left to die in a field by two men he had met in a gay bar. He was
found comatose but died five days later on October 12, 1998.
Judy Shepard met with Obama in 2009 to
discuss the federal hate crimes bill. She was present at the bill's
“I don't think there's been a single
moment in which LGBT issues became important to me,” Obama said in
the video. “I think it's an accumulation of a lifetime of friends
and family – people I've gotten to know, who have helped me
understand how the fight for LGBT rights is consistent with that most
important part of America's character, which is to constantly expand
opportunity and fairness to everybody.”
Obama added that the gay community
needs a strong advocate in the White House. “I am that strong
advocate,” he said. (The video is embedded in the right panel of
this page. Visit
our video library for more videos.)