Obama: ‘new forms of discrimination’

The following is an excerpt from remarks delivered by President Obama September 27 before an LGBT Democratic National Committee fundraising dinner in New York City. Full remarks can be viewed at the White House website.

Now, the good news is they probably won’t use marriage equality as a wedge issue like they did in 2004 because the country has come too far.  (Applause.)  In fact, America has left the leaders of the Republican Party behind.  One of their leading candidates argued that going to prison turns you gay.  (Laughter.)  Well, you think I’m — I shouldn’t go into this?  (Laughter.)  No, I mean, I’m just stating the facts.  Another candidate boasts that he introduced an amendment to end nationwide marriage equality — which isn’t even an accomplishment at all.  (Laughter and applause.)  A third says Americans should just disobey the Supreme Court’s ruling entirely.  I’m sure he loves the Constitution — except for Article III.  (Laughter and applause.)  And maybe the Equal Protection Amendment.  And 14th Amendment, generally.  (Laughter.)


Now, look, for some Americans, there’s no doubt that this change has been a world-wind.  And we believe that these changes have been for the better.  But we have to recognize — and in fact, I know the people in this room do because they felt it in their own family sometimes, or in the workplace — that with change, with any progress, comes some unease.  And as Americans, I think we have to acknowledge that.  I think that it’s important for us to recognize that there are still parts of the country that are getting there, but it’s going to take some time.


We affirm that we cherish our religious freedom and are profoundly respectful of religious traditions.  But we also have to say clearly that our religious freedom doesn’t grant us the freedom to deny our fellow Americans their constitutional rights. (Applause.)  And that even as we are respectful and accommodating genuine concerns and interests of religious institutions, we need to reject politicians who are supporting new forms of discrimination as a way to scare up votes.  (Applause.)  That’s not how we move America forward.

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