President Donald Trump outlined his priorities for the coming year in his State of the Union address, which included renewing...
President Obama continued his trend of including references to LGBT people in his State of the Union address Tuesday night, but he drew mixed reviews from community leaders.
Early in the one-hour speech, Obama told Congress and the national television audience, “It is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country – the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, what you look like, or who you love.”
Later, talking about the military, he said, “We will ensure equal treatment for all service members, and equal benefits for their families – gay and straight.”
A lesbian activist who works to help military families is among First Lady Michelle Obama’s invited guests for tonight's State of the Union Address. LGBT Americans will also be listening to hear if President Obama includes marriage equality or other gay issues in the speech, as he did in his inaugural address last month.
Tracey Hepner, the co-founder of Military Partners and Families Coalition, is the wife of the military's first-ever lesbian general, Tammy Smith.
From the White House description of Hepner, distributed today: Tracey is a co-founder of the Military Partners and Families Coalition (MPFC), which provides support, resources, education, and advocacy for LGBT military partners and their families. Outside of her work with MPFC, Tracey works full time for the Department of Homeland Security as a Master Behavior Detection Officer. She is married to the first openly gay or lesbian general officer in the military, Army Brigadier General Tammy Smith.
President Barack Obama briefly mentioned gay soldiers in his third State of the Union address last night.
Sitting in attendance with First Lady Michelle Obama were Loreliei Kilker and Cononel Ginger Wallace, two out and proud lesbian women. Kilker was awarded a monetary settlement after an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigation found systemic sex discrimination at her previous employment. Wallace and her partner, Kathy Knoph, participated together in Wallace's recent promotion ceremony, the first promotion ceremony featuring a same-sex couple after the repeal of the military's “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” policy.
The president didn't mention either Kilker or Wallace in his address. His only mention of anything close to acknowledging the gay rights struggle came just four paragraphs from the end of his speech.
Which brings me back to where I began. Those of us who’ve been sent here to serve can learn from the service of our troops. When you put on that uniform, it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white; Asian or Latino; conservative or liberal; rich or poor; gay or straight. When you’re marching into battle, you look out for the person next to you, or the mission fails. When you’re in the thick of the fight, you rise or fall as one unit, serving one Nation, leaving no one behind.
Reaction to the speech was mixed among gay rights groups.