October 10th, 2009
07:24 PM ET
5 years ago

Gay rights advocates gather ahead of President's speech

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Gay rights advocates gathered near the Washington Monument on Saturday to express opposition to the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy just hours before President Barack Obama was expected to speak to the Human Rights Campaign on issues affecting the gay community.

Many of the protesters said they were disappointed with what they saw as Obama's inaction on gay rights.

"I don't think that President Obama has done enough. I think we need action, real action, we need it now. We are standing up to demand our equal basic human rights, and that's what this is about," said Dave Valk, who helped organize the protest for the National Equality March.

During his presidential campaign, Obama frequently said he would urge Congress to overturn the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which bans homosexuals from serving openly in the military.

The issue hasn't exactly been at the forefront for a president who has been dealing with a faltering economy, health care and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Participants described the march as spontaneous, organized by text messages and social networking sites.

"It's a flash protest, we simply put out a mass text, and you know, within 40 minutes we have this, everyone in town just decided to show up," said Valk.

Gay rights activists from across the United States are descending upon Washington on Sunday to call for equal rights. They'll be marching past the White House to the Capitol for a rally.

soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. This black liberal hates Obama

    So don't be suprised if he refuses to shake hands with a homosexual!

    October 10, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  2. Ridgeway

    Yeah, "action, real action". Try going straight. You'll find it's you that are out of sync not the rest of the world.

    October 10, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  3. Obama/Biden

    I am very happy to see that the world is watching my president and at least think that you are deserved to be honored than a lot of Americans do. Many Americans to be specific, I would say the racism one who do not like blacks and Hispanics think that you are un-American and do not deserve to be president of the United states of America. Some said that your birth certificate was fake and that your presidency is illegal. Some said that you could not be the president of the US and they even said that you could be the president of Ethiopia and not America. Thus far, God proved them all wrong and shut them up and let them know that he is in control of this world. I want to warn those people who do not like people who are different from them in skin color to fear God because we are all God creation. It does not matter who you are African or Caucasian. Please do not fear what no man can do you president Obama because I know God elected you president of the US; the people vote you in but they did not do it. Not in a racist country lot ours that Barack Obama could've become president without God help. So therefore, God will protect you and help you succeed.
    I know that people are trying to get you not to be a success just to criticize you as an African American. I know that they are expecting too much of you and they never expected that much from previous president. I wonder why. Is it because they are white like they are?
    God want me to tell you to approve the 40,000 thousand soldiers for the Afghanistan war because it is the right thing to do. You do not want to have not enough soldiers there because if the casualties increases because of not enough soldiers on the ground their, the American people will really get upset of you. I know that Republicans do not want you to succeed and for that reason they will oppose almost any major things you are trying to do. For these Republicans, it is not about the country or the people of America; it is to them about trying to make you look bad to the people to see if they can defeat you next election. These Republicans only care about money and power but, not the people who vote them in power. Do not worry because we the people realize what is going on and will do the right thing for the country. I want you and your administration not to worry too much about bipartisan work because Republicans are on a mission to defeat you and they do not care about the people. Some people think President Obama has a magical solution to all the problems the country is facing that took his predecessor many years to mess them up like they are. Only God has the magical solution overnight to everything; not you president Obama. The people need to give you time to work because you are only eight months into power. Always welcome them on the table but, they will never want to get involve. Mr. President please keep a positive attitude and keep on the good fight and do not let that medal peace of honor make you take the wrong decisions for Afghanistan. Remember not to worry because everything you do Republicans and those who want to see you hurt will never be happy with you. God raised you king like he rose David king over Israel. God told me to tell you more troops are needed for Afghanistan and Iraq need to come to a closure when the time is right to do so.

    October 10, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  4. Operation Replacement

    Old-time activists who took part in previous marches here planned
    this. No, it wasn't just a mass text. Despite them, the military ban
    will remain.

    October 10, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  5. gary davis Harbor Oregon

    HMMM one step at a time .its good to stay firm on what you want as far as equal rights . but remember that past ( he who squeeks the most gets what they want to a point ) but he who squeeks to much to often gets nothing..so my advice is be glad for what you have gained in equal rights . rest for a period of time and then get back at it . give the president some breathing room .inother words stop naging and act like educated people with common sence.. take a breath and enjoy life . you will acheive your goal in time . like womens rights ,chinese, irish, idian,african,eoropean,basically every race on the planet and every ethenic group,

    gary davis
    harbor oregon

    October 10, 2009 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  6. Roxanne Pauline

    @CNN This country is going to have to learn how the legislative process works. There is No Magic Wand! Lets work on Health Care Reform and the Economy and the Middle East.
    This country is like a spoild teenager having a temper tantrum. We want everything at one time.

    October 10, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  7. MH

    Gosh. It's a good day for human rights! Go Obama, go!!!

    October 10, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  8. ThinkAgain

    President Obama will get rid of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," during his first term, but not right now.

    We need to get health care reform done first. It's a sad but true political reality that if President Obama were to try to move on any significant gays rights legislation right now, the GOP would use it as a way to rally the anti-health reform forces even more.

    And knowing folks like Palin, they'd find a passage from the health care reform proposals to twist into meaning everyone has to marry someone of the same gender – and there'd be a bunch of dunderheads out there willing to believe it!

    October 10, 2009 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  9. iloveobammy

    the homos are are obammy lovers. nuff said.

    October 10, 2009 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  10. scott

    I support the president on alot of things and I think he is a good person, but him getting involved in this kind of show, just isn't what a president should do. I believe that most Americans are against this gay rights issue, I know that I'm against it. I believe he would get more support if he would stay away from this kind of immorality!!! He would probably get more support on healthcare from the Republicans if he would not support this gay rights issue or abortion. I truly believe this!!

    October 10, 2009 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  11. JT the concerned College Freshman from MO

    I am just going to say one thing, and that is I think that everyone gay or straight needs to be treated with equal rights and respect. In the military, it is a shame to lie about who you really are. I think anyone should be free to admit their point of view without any fear of being kicked out because their point of view is not the "correct" one.
    “The glory of this land has been its capacity for transcending the moral evils of our past. For example, the long struggle of minority citizens for equal rights, once a source of disunity and civil war, is now a point of pride for all Americans. We must never go back. There is no room for racism, anti-Semitism, or other forms of ethnic and racial hatred in this country.” Ronald Reagan. This is a Republican speaking this. I might not agree with his politics, but his integrity and honesty was astonishing. If he were still alive, I personally believe that he would support removing "Dont Ask, Dont Tell". CNN, post this.

    October 10, 2009 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  12. Obama Fan

    The president is right to say he cannot ask LGBT community to be patient but he is taking on many things at once and can only do so much. Tonight he reaffirmed his commitment to the cause of equal rights and we need to take a breath and see what happens to healthcare before taking to the streets. He is the first president willing to take these issues on and that in itself is extraordinary.

    October 10, 2009 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  13. db

    The "breath of fresh air" has turned into a "huge sigh of relief"; but if you ask me, he's nothing but hot air.

    October 10, 2009 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  14. RNC = DNC = politics as usual

    He is the President and Commander in Chief! He can pick up the phone and say "End it!"

    Why is he taking so long to keep his promises?

    October 10, 2009 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  15. JOBLESS IN IOWA

    maybe Obama you should support our service personnel like you support the gays and your private agenda.

    Obama LIES about JOBS

    October 10, 2009 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  16. Agurrie-NY

    America has a very unique Christian-Muslim President, Obama.

    On the National Prayer Day, Obama had skipped to celebrate National Prayer Day, but attended and addressed on the spot of Gay Rights Advocate.

    On the Easter Sunday which Jesus Christ resurrect in the White House in 2009, Obama had invited gay and lesbian group on Easter hunter games.

    During the White House’s celebration of the Muslim holiday of Ramadan this evening, President Obama highlighted the contributions of Muslim Americans, talking about how much the Muslim community has enriched American culture “in ways both large and small.”

    Three days later the lavish Inaugulation, Obama signed on "Mexico Policy" which aids "ABORTION" that 43,000,000 of American babies have been killed since Roe v Wade in 1973 to Foreign Countries.

    On the speech in Turkey, Obama said that American was not considered "Christian Nation".......

    Most of Christian and God have counted on what Obama has done so far.

    October 10, 2009 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  17. Citizen

    We have been waiting for hours to watch President Obama's speech on CNN. Instead you showed Jones Town. Why did they tell us that we would be watching the President. I've never commented on CNN before but this was a huge disappointment. We won't be watching CNN for a long time now.

    October 10, 2009 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  18. JOBLESS IN IOWA

    Obama maybe people DONT WANT TO SERVE with gays.

    Let the Majority speak not the minority

    October 10, 2009 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  19. Dan, TX

    They should have been out with the other tea bags protesting government repression of their Constitutional rights.

    October 10, 2009 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  20. A Democrat of 51 years who has finally got smart to their foolishness.

    THis is absolutely sickening but the GRERAT OBAMA will listen and promise. But can he change anything. So far NOT.

    October 10, 2009 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  21. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    When rights are denied to some...Rights are denied to all! Remember the rights you enjoy now just might be the rights you can be denied later. And then it's too late! Think about it

    October 10, 2009 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |