Obama Fights Uphill Battle with Gay Community

The Obama administration will continue its fight Monday to save face with the gay community, but it's a struggle that is far from resolved.

President Obama will make remarks at a reception marking the 40th anniversary of the Greenwich Village demonstrations at the Stonewall Inn in New York City. The 1969 incident marked a turning point in the battle over gay rights, when the Inn's gay patrons fought a police raid which was initiated under the guise of violations of liquor laws.

"Monday's event is a chance for the White House to recognize the accomplishments of LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] Americans. Invited guests include families, volunteers and community leaders. This event was long planned as a way to applaud these individuals during Pride month," White House Spokesman Shin Inouye told Fox.

The event comes at a crucial moment in Obama's young presidency; the gay community is becoming increasingly vocal in its calls for the White House to take a more aggressive stance on gay rights issues.

Vice President Joe Biden got a taste of that frustration Thursday night, when an event he spoke at was greeted with a flurry of about 50 angry protesters. They were admonishing attendees of the DNC's LGBT Leadership Council fundraiser and urging participants to boycott it.

But Biden addressed the protesters' concerns head-on, admitting, "I am not unaware of the controversy swirling around this dinner and swirling around the speed, or lack thereof, that we are moving on issues that are of great importance to you..."

But, he added, the administration is committed to "keeping the nation focused on the unfinished business of true equality for all our people."

The source of much of the anger in the gay community, which strongly supported Obama during the election, is the slow pace of the administration's efforts to repeal the military's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy and the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA; a 1996 law which specifically prohibits extending health and retirement benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees.

Compounding their concerns is the fact that the Obama Justice Department has argued for the constitutionality of DOMA in court. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has explained the conflict this way, "[T]he Justice Department is charged with upholding the law of the land, even though the president believes that that law should be repealed."

At this point, the White House does retain the benefit of the doubt of many in the LGBT community.

All three openly-gay members of Congress, Representatives Tammy Baldwin, Barney Frank and Jared Polis, attended the democratic fundraiser. Some well-known activists, like David Mixner, were among the boycotters.

However, the protesters weren't able to shave off much money, since the event raised around $1 million, out-performing last year's take when Michelle Obama was the speaker.

Biden pledged to the attendees that the administration will "put some pace on the ball" in getting something done. In the meantime, the White House is still going through the motions.