President Obama's eloquent speech on gay rights delivered Monday at a White House East Room reception appears to have failed to unite the gay community behind him.

The event comes on the fortieth anniversary of the Stonewall riots, often considered the birth of the modern gay rights movement.

Obama paid tribute to the legacy of the uprising.

“Now 40 years ago, in the heart of New York City at a place called the Stonewall Inn, a group of citizens … defied an unjust policy and awakened a nascent movement.”

“The police stormed the bar, which was known for being one of the few spots where it was safe to be gay in New York. … But on this night, something was different. … They stood their ground. And over the course of several nights they declared that they had seen enough injustice in their time.”

“This was an outpouring against not just what they experienced that night, but what they had experienced their whole lives.”

Obama described the gay rights movement as a “difficult struggle,” and “heartbreaking.” He called gay rights civil rights, and drew parallels to prior civil rights battles. And told the crowd that he understood their frustrations.

Then, he asked the crowd for patience.

“I want you to know that I expect and hope to be judged not by words, not by promises I've made, but by the promises that my administration keeps. … We've been in office six months now. I suspect that by the time this administration is over, I think you guys will have pretty good feelings about the Obama administration,” he said.

Gay rights leaders in attendance appeared assured by the president. But not mollified were activists absent from the event: The president's loudest antagonists on gay and lesbian rights. They include gay activist David Mixner, Marriage Equality Executive Director Evan Wolfson, Equality California Executive Director Geoff Korrs, gay activist Richard Socarides, Empire Pride Agenda Executive Director Alan Van Capelle, gay philanthropist Bruce Bastian and GLAD Executive Director Mary Bonauto.

The list of the uninvited reads like a who's who of Obama gay rights bashers. And for them, Obama's remarks sounded hollow.

“Cocktail parties are fun, but if we are impatient, there's a reason,” Van Capelle, told the Washington Post. “There are a lot of us who believe in change but do not believe it is a passive word. It is an active word. There is a level of disappointment that exits.”

He compared the event to an expensive meal, saying: “It costs a whole lot to get into the White House, but somehow, the meal feels unfulfilling.”

These gay activists have been frustrated by the administration's hesitation to act on pressing gay rights issues. Candidate Obama promised to repeal “don't ask, don't tell,” the law that bans opens gay service in the military, and the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, the 1996 law that bans gay marriage at the federal level.

President Obama insists he is working with Congress and the Pentagon to repeal the military gay ban legislatively, but activists say he could issue an executive order that ends military discharges as the policy is under review.

And earlier this month, the Obama administration raised the hackles of gay activists when the Department of Justice defended DOMA in federal court. Activists called the brief filed appalling for its comparisons of gay marriages to incestuous and polygamous relationships, and its use of outdated gay stereotypes.

Officials have said the administration is duty-bound to defend the laws of the land, even as it works to repeal them. An argument Obama reiterated twice Monday.

On DOMA he said: “Now I want to add we have a duty to uphold existing law, but I believe we must do so in a way that does not exacerbate old divides. And fulfilling this duty in upholding the law in no way lessens my commitment to reversing this law. I've made that clear.”

And on “don't ask, don't tell:” [A]s commander in chief, in a time of war, I do have a responsibility to see that this change is administered in a practical way and a way that takes over the long term.”

Attendees to the White House version of Gay Pride left feeling reassured of the administration's commitment to gay rights.

Joe Solmonese, president of Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay rights advocate, said the event reassured him “that the commitment was still there.”

But on the Internet, bloggers came to very different conclusions.

“All in all, the president gave a very eloquent speech,” Joe Sudbay wrote in post at AmericaBlog. “But, you know what, we've heard those speeches already. He's the president now, not some candidate. He can do more than talk. And so far, he's chosen not to, and made up some flimsy excuses to justify his actions. And, while many of the so-called gay 'leaders' in the East Room may be assuaged and bought off with the promise of champagne and a heartfelt 'God bless you' from the man who promised much, lots more people are mad as hell and starting to think they're being taken for a ride.”

And there's the rub: Insiders take Obama at his word, that he is working on repealing anti-gay laws even as military discharges soar past 265 under his watch and DOMA is being defended by his administration, while outsiders, at best, believe Obama has punted gay rights into his second term.