President Barack Obama reiterated his pro-gay pledges to the homosexual community during a White House reception Monday.
Addressing hundreds of gays and lesbians and advocates at an event marking the 40th anniversary of the birth of the gay rights movement, Obama vowed again to overturn the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy and to repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
"I will not only be your friend, I will continue to be an ally and a champion and a president who fights with you and for you," he told an enthusiastic crowd.
The event was a first-of-its-kind Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month reception at the White House. Obama declared June 2009 LGBT Pride Month and was the first president to use the term transgender in his proclamation.
His predecessor, George W. Bush, never issued an LGBT proclamation during his eight years in office.
Pro-family groups say Obama's homosexual political agenda is unprecedented and warn of his "full-throated attack" on the moral and social order, as Robert Knight of Coral Ridge Ministries stated.
Knight along with other conservative groups, including Americans For Truth About Homosexuality, believe a fulfillment of the pro-gay agenda would usher in an era of intolerance toward Christians.
If fulfilled, Obama's promises to the homosexual community "will undermine the freedoms of the majority of Americans who affirm marriage and healthy, time-tested Judeo-Christian sexual values in their daily lives," AFTAH said in a statement.
For gay rights advocates, progress has been slow and many have become impatient with the Obama administration.
Some expressed outrage when the Justice Department filed a motion this month to dismiss a gay couple's lawsuit against the Defense of Marriage Act – which defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman for purposes of all federal laws, and provides that states need not recognize same-sex marriages from another state. The department made arguments defending DOMA in its motion.
But on Monday, Obama made clear that he has a duty to uphold existing law. However, fulfilling this duty does not lessen his commitment to reversing DOMA, he said.
He also reassured them that they will continue to make progress and by the end of his term, he believes the homosexual community will "have pretty good feelings about the Obama administration."
"We have made progress and we will make more," he said.
Earlier this month, Obama signed a memorandum to extend some benefits to gay and lesbian partners of federal employees.
The president noted, "Even as we face extraordinary challenges as a nation we cannot and will not put aside issues of basic equality."
Among other vows, Obama said he is urging Congress to pass the Domestic Partners Benefits and Obligations Act to guarantee the full range of benefits to LGBT couples and their children. He is also working to pass the employee non-discrimination bill as well as the hate crimes bill which would expand federal protections to the LGBT community.
Conservative and Christian groups have been actively campaigning against the hate crimes bill and urging senators to reject the legislation. They contend that the bill, which adds "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" alongside "race," "color" or "national origin," would be used to prosecute those who speak against homosexuality because they can be blamed for inciting violence. The groups also argue that there is simply no need for such legislation as existing state laws are already sufficient.