Days before President Obama is scheduled to deliver the keynote address at the annual gathering of the Human Rights Campaign, White House officials say the President is "intent" on making progress on issues important to the gay community. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says the President made commitments on reversing "Don't ask, Don't tell" and addressing domestic partner benefits while running not only for President but earlier in his political career as a Senate candidate. "They are commitments that are important to him. And he is intent on making progress on those issues," Gibbs told reporters at Wednesday's briefing.
Many gays and lesbians have questioned Mr. Obama's commitment to their cause since taking office. President Obama backed down on his promise to dismantle the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). This speech is seen as the latest token to hold onto support from the group. In June, Obama signed a presidential memorandum requiring the federal government to provide several spousal benefits to domestic partners of federal employees, including homosexual partners. Last month, when the President declared September 28th "National Family Day," he gave brief mention to "same-sex couples" who are raising children.