President Obama Told Ellen She's Done as Much for Gay Rights as He Has, So She Cried a Little

Illustration for article titled President Obama Told Ellen Shes Done as Much for Gay Rights as He Has, So She Cried a Little

Obama made an appearance on The Ellen Show on February 12, and things got a a bit emotional. It started with Ellen telling the President that she can’t thank him enough for what he’s done for the gay community. Hold up, girl, Obama thinks he should be thanking you.

In the clip above, Obama explains that Ellen’s presence on a wildly popular daytime talk show, and her openness about her sexuality and marriage has had a huge affect on the public’s perception of gay people. He says:

We were driving over here today — and I meant this. I said it to my staff — I said, as much as we’ve done with laws and ending ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ et cetera, changing hearts and minds — I don’t think anybody has been more influential than you on that. I really mean that. You being willing to claim who you were, that suddenly empowers other people. And then suddenly, it’s your brother, it’s your uncle, it’s your best friend, it’s your coworkers. And then attitudes shift. And the law is followed, but it started with folks like you. I’m so proud of you.

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Ellen tears up, but like all comedians, deflects feelings with a joke: she admits she’s not really gay, but people responded so well she felt she had to go along with it. Obama responds by saying, “But, on TV, you play one and it’s great.” All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely gay players.

Image via The Ellen Show.

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DISCUSSION

Masshole James, Unstable Genius

I get what he’s saying because Ellen was visible in a way no one in Hollywood had been up until that point. Still, as humble as he is, he’s been an amazing president for LGBT individuals (and the country at large, I think.) He pushed the repeal of DADT through (thanks Clintons!) and refused to defend DOMA (thanks again Clintons!) in front of the Supremes and he came out for gay marriage in the middle of a contested election, knowing it could have cost him millions of votes. He also signed an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. He’s been the most transformative president since FDR, based on all the cultural changes under him and also based on Obamacare and the (admittedly tepid) re-regulation of Wall Street. Even when he fails, he keeps pushing his agenda without fear. I miss the man already.