President Barack Obama, facing a tough reelection fight against presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney this fall, released a new campaign video on Wednesday (23 May) highlighting his record on LGBT issues.
The video, narrated by Glee star Jane Lynch, includes footage from Obama’s recent interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts during which he publicly supported gay marriage as well as video of his It Gets Better video and footage from his appearance at the Human Rights Campaign dinner a few years ago.
‘I don’t think it’s been a single moment where LGBT issues became important to me,’ he says in an interview done for the video. ‘It’s the accumulation of a lifetime of friends and family and people I’ve gotten to know who have helped me understand how the fight for LGBT rights is consistent with that most important part of America’s character which is to constantly expand opportunity and fairness to everyone.’
‘We’ve seen a profound cultural shift just in the last decade because folks are family now,’ he added. ‘This isn’t a matter of strangers – these are people we love, who we care about.’
Lynch points out that Obama he has done more for LGBT rights than any other president in history.
She lists such things as ordering that any hospital that gets federal funding give visitation and consultation rights to same-sex couples, granting benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees, and signing federal hate crime legislation covering sexual orientation and gender identity.
Obama has also appointed more LGBT members to his administration and appointed more LGBT judges to the bench than any other previous president in history.
The video also highlights his push to repeal the military’s anti-gay Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy which prevented gays and lesbians from serving openly.
‘One of my proudest moments was when we were able to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,’ Obama says. ‘It wasn’t an easy process [and] there were some who doubted that we would ever get it done. … That day we signed it was an enotional day.’
In a second term, Obama says he would work to preserve that gains made in LGBT equality and make sure any discrimination is emliminated.
‘You’re going to need a strong advocate in The White House, I am that strong advocate. ‘ he says. ‘It’s not just a matter of head, it’s a matter of heart. It’s what I care about.’