President Obama, who has come under harsh criticism from gay rights advocates for not yet acting on many campaign promises on gay issues, Monday afternoon said that his administration has made some progress on behalf of gay Americans and plans to do more.
"I know that many in this room don't believe that progress has come fast enough, and I understand that," Mr. Obama said at a reception for LGBT Pride Month at the White House. "It's not for me to tell you to be patient anymore than it was for others to counsel patience to African-Americans who were petitioning for equal rights a half-century ago."
"But I say this: We have made progress," the president continued. "And we will make more. And 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," he said. "I suspect that by the time this administration is over, I think you guys will have pretty good feelings about the Obama administration."
As a candidate, the president promised as a candidate to repeal the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy banning gays from serving openly in the military as well as the Defense Of Marriage Act. Gay rights advocates have grown increasingly impatient as his administration has made little progress on those or other issues important to them.
"I believe preventing patriotic Americans from serving their country weakens our national security," the president said in reference to "don't ask, don't tell." He said the administration is working with the Pentagon and Congress to end the policy. He also insisted that doing so will require an act of Congress, though many believe the president could halt discharges of openly gay service members through an executive order.
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