Barack Obama Says LGBT Rights as Important as Religious Freedom

Barack Obama

Religious freedom is no excuse to deny any American his or her constitutional rights, said President Barack Obama to the country’s LGBT community, one of his primary sources of financial and political support.

Speaking at a fundraiser for the Democratic Party, Obama said it is important to understand that certain parts of America continue to be uncomfortable with the notion of same-sex marriage.  And while it would take time for these sections to surrender their religious inhibitions so they can relate with the majority of Americans who support such unions, constitutional provisions for religious freedom cannot be used to deny the queer community its fundamental rights.

“We affirm that we cherish our religious freedom and are profoundly respectful of religious traditions,” Obama said during remarks that were interrupted by repeated applause and cheers. “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. 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. That's not how we move America forward.”

The latter part of Obama’s statement was an obvious reference to certain Republican presidential candidates, who have been trying to use a divisive approach during their election campaigns only so they can rake up votes.


Obama started his speech by urging his supporters to recall how seven years ago, they came together not only to elect a president for America, but also reaffirm their faith in certain ideals, one of which happened to be – people; irrespective of where they come from or who they love, can still change the country. He reiterated that every individual in the United States, regardless of his or her sexual orientation, continues to be protected by a federal hate crimes law that he signed during the first year of his presidency. That is the same law which today bars federal contractors from terminating employees based solely on their sexual orientation.


Obama received some of his biggest cheers and loudest applause when he said, “We live in an America where ‘don't ask, don't tell’ is something that ‘don't exist.’”

Obama has also been held responsible for lifting the Pentagon policy that prohibited gays and lesbians from serving in the military.

“Tonight, thanks to the unbending sense of justice passed down through generations of citizens who never gave up hope that we could bring this country closer to our founding ideals, we now live in America where our marriages are equal as well,” he said.

Photo Credits: International Business Times

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