President Barack Obama on Saturday
joked that he had met with gay leader Lady Gaga.
In addressing roughly 3,000 people at
the 15th annual Human Rights Campaign (HRC) National
Dinner, the president was greeted with a standing ovation.
“I also took a trip out to California
last week, where I held some productive bilateral talks with your
leader, Lady Gaga,” Obama joked. “She was wearing 16-inch heels.
She was eight feet tall. It was a little intimidating.”
In introducing Obama, HRC President Joe
Solmonese said the group has achieved “more in the last two years”
than in the previous seven.
“We must stand with those who have a
history of standing with us and that includes Barack Obama,”
Solmonese told the crowd. “No president has done more to improve
the lives of LGBT people than Barack Obama.”
And during his speech, Obama was more
than happy to list those accomplishments.
“Every single American – gay,
straight, lesbian, bisexual, transgender – every single American
deserves to be treated equally in the eyes of the law and in the eyes
of our society. It's a pretty simple proposition.”
“I met with Judy Shepard. I promised
her we would pass a hate crimes bill named for her son, Matthew. And
with the help of my dear friend Ted Kennedy we got it done.”
“I met with Janice Langbehn, who was
barred from the bedside of the woman she loved as she lay dying. And
I told her that we were going to put a stop to this discrimination. …
I issued an order so that any hospital in American that accepts
Medicare or Medicaid – and that means just about every hospital –
has to treat gay partners just as they do straight partners.”
“I said that we would lift the HIV
travel ban – we got that done.”
The president received the most
applause in discussing the recent repeal of the military's ban on gay and
bisexual troops serving openly.
“'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' is history.
And all over the the world, there are men and women serving this
country just as they always have – with honor and courage and
discipline and valor. We got it done. … [A]nd the only difference
is now they can put up a family photo. No one has to live a lie to
serve the country they love.”
Obama also reiterated his support for
repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the 1996 law that bans
federal agencies from recognizing the legal marriages of gay and
“I believe the law runs counter to
the Constitution, and it's time for it to end once and for all,” he
said. (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page.)