Clinton adviser: Gay rights will be Obama’s greatest legacy
A former adviser to Bill Clinton has claimed that gay rights will be Obama’s biggest legacy.
Richard Socarides, who was a senior adviser to Clinton from 1993 to 1999, served as his principal on gay and lesbian civil rights issues during the period in which he signed both the Defense of Marriage Act and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell into law.
Hailing the advances made under Obama, Mr Socarides – who later founded the Equality Matters group – said: “Barack Obama has accomplished more progressive social change on gay rights than anything else.”
He added that the President – who did not back same-sex marriage during his first term in office – was prompted to take a bolder tone as a result of pro-gay activists.
He said: “The reason why he has that record now is because, publicly and privately, we really held his feet to the fire.”
The Obama administration announced the appointment of the Google engineer to the role this month, making her the most senior lesbian in the administration.
Obama last month gave a surprise opening address at the 9th annual gay games in Cleveland Ohio.
In the address, Obama said: “I know some of you have come from place where it requires courage — even defiance — to come out, sometimes at great personal risk.
“You should know that the United States stands with you and for your human rights, just as our athletes stand with you on the fields at these games. After all, the very idea of America is that no matter who you are, what you look like, where you come from or who you love, you can make it if you try.”