President Obama turned on the charm at a reception yesterday for gay, lesbian, and transgender activists at the White House, where he tried to dispel worries he was dragging his feet on campaign promises. "I think you guys will have pretty good feelings about the Obama administration" by the time it's over, he said to applause. As the Washington Post reports, many advocates were happy for the recognition, on the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, but still angry at perceived slights.
At the reception Obama pledged to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell, pass a federal hate crimes bill named after Matthew Shepard, and overturn the Defense of Marriage Act—eventually. "This is so incredibly historic and symbolic," one attendee said. He said it was courageous of Obama to host the event, but added: "It doesn't take away the pain that the Justice Department issued a brief equating gays to pedophiles and incest."