Obama to male grads: ‘Be the best husband to your wife, or your boyfriend, or your partner’

Morehouse College speech calls on grads to have empathy for all minority groups

Obama to male grads: ‘Be the best husband to your wife, or your boyfriend, or your partner’
20 May 2013

During a commencement speech at the all-male Morehouse College on Sunday (19 May), President Barack Obama encouraged students – straight or gay – to be good spouses and parents.

‘… That’s what I’m asking all of you to do: Keep setting an example for what it means to be a man. Be the best husband to your wife, or your boyfriend, or your partner. Be the best father you can be to your children. Because nothing is more important.’

Of his own marriage, Obama said: ‘Didn’t know my dad. And so my whole life, I’ve tried to be for Michelle and my girls what my father was not for my mother and me. I want to break that cycle where a father is not at home — (applause) — where a father is not helping to raise that son or daughter. I want to be a better father, a better husband, a better man.’

Morehouse is a private, historically black college in Atlanta, Georgia, and is the alma mater of Martin Luther King Jr., among others.

Obama, the first president in US history to publicly support gay marriage while in office, also urged the graduates to have empathy for all minorities – including gays.

‘As Morehouse Men, many of you know what it’s like to be an outsider; know what it’s like to be marginalized; know what it’s like to feel the sting of discrimination. And that’s an experience that a lot of Americans share,’ he said.

‘Hispanic Americans know that feeling when somebody asks them where they come from or tell them to go back. Gay and lesbian Americans feel it when a stranger passes judgment on their parenting skills or the love that they share.Muslim Americans feel it when they’re stared at with suspicion because of their faith. Any woman who knows the injustice of earning less pay for doing the same work — she knows what it’s like to be on the outside looking in.’

‘So your experiences give you special insight that today’s leaders need,’ Obama concluded. ‘It should give you the ability to connect. It should give you a sense of compassion and what it means to overcome barriers.’

Here is a link to the full transcript to Obama’s speech.

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Neil Patrick Harris opens Oscars with elaborate and wildly funny ode to Moving Pictures

Jokes to audience after: 'That whole thing was completely improvised'
No thumbnail available

Anderson Cooper's boyfriend caught kissing another man

Partner of gay CNN news anchor snapped smooching mystery man in New York despite reportedly engaged to be married
No thumbnail available

An unexpected romance with Romania

GSN feels the fireworks in the Romanian mountains
No thumbnail available

Ben Whishaw tipped to play Freddie Mercury in upcoming Queen biopic

Queen drummer Roger Taylor drops hint during interview on BBC's The One Show that the Skyfall star may take the role of the late singer
No thumbnail available

Taiwan has first same-sex Christian religious weddings

A university chapel has hosted Taiwan’s first Christian religious marriage services this week - though the marriages will not be legally recognized by the state
No thumbnail available

Homophobic teacher struck off indefinitely

Teacher in UK barred for teaching after four schools complain about his abusive behavior.
No thumbnail available

Music legend Clive Davis comes out as bisexual

The man who discovered or signed superstars such as Whitney Houston, Barry Manilow and Alicia Keys has revealed his sexuality
No thumbnail available

Hong Kong to debate recognition of 'non-operative' transgender people

If passed, a new bill would enshrine in law a pre-existing government policy that transgender people must undergo full gender reassignment surgery to change their legal gender
No thumbnail available

Magic Johnson's gay son now more than 100 pounds lighter after gastric bypass surgery

EJ Johnson of TV's Rich Kids of Beverly Hills: 'I wanted to be the best me I can be'
No thumbnail available

After languishing for decades, ENDA introduced once again in US Congress

Proposed act would ban job discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity