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|Obama highlights LGBT achievements during Pride reception|
|by Ryan Watkins|
|June 30, 2011 13:20|
President Barack Obama held a reception yesterday honoring LGBT Pride Month. Several LGBT Atlantans, including James Parker Sheffield, Executive Director of the Atlanta Pride Committee, and Jeff Graham, Executive Director of Georgia Equality, attended. You can read their story here.
The reception comes as advocacy organizations step up the pressure on the president, and in particular, his stance on same-sex marriage. The president, who called the recent passage of marriage equality in New York "a good thing," has shied away from outright support of marriage equality.
Obama instead used yesterday's reception to highlight his achievements in the equality movement, citing hate crimes legislation, hospital visitation, removing the HIV travel ban and the repeal of the military's “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” policy.
“A lot of people said we weren’t going to be able to get 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' done, including a bunch of people in this room,” Obama said yesterday.
“It took two years through Congress – working with Admiral Mullen and Secretary Gates and the Pentagon. We had to hold together a fragile coalition. We had to keep up the pressure. But the bottom line is we got it done. And in a matter of weeks, not months, I expect to certify the change in policy – and we will end "don't ask, don't tell" once and for all,” he added.
For the first time, Obama gave a clear timeline for the repeal process by indicating when he expected to certify the law.
If certified sometime in July or early August, gay and lesbian soldiers could begin to openly serve by Fall.
Earlier this year before the House Armed Services Committee, the heads of the individual branches of the US military stated training on the repeal would be complete by mid-Summer, though they were hesitant to give any firm dates.
Once certified, DADT will remain in place for 60 days before being officially overturned.
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