By AATTP contributor Omar Rivero from Occupy Democrats
WASHINGTON — Once again, President Obama is pushing the envelope on gay equality and insuring his legacy in the annals of American history as the first sitting president to actively come down on the right side of the human rights issue of our generation.
During a press conference at the White House earlier today, the President praised NBA center Jason Collins’s brave decision to be the first active male professional athlete in a major American sports league to come out as gay.
“I had a chance to talk to him yesterday. He seems like a terrific young man,” Obama said, and added,
I told him I couldn’t be prouder… one of the extraordinary measures of progress that we’ve seen in this country has been the recognition that the LGBT community deserves full equality, not just partial equality. Not just tolerance, but a recognition that they’re fully a part of the American family.
Obama continued, “And given the importance of sports in our society for an individual who’s excelled at the highest levels in one of the major sports to go out and say, ‘This is who I am, I’m proud of it, I’m still a great competitor, I’m still seven foot tall and can bang with Shaq,’ … For I think a lot of young people out there who are gay or lesbian, who are struggling with these issues, to see a role model out there who’s unafraid… This is just one more step in the ongoing recognition that we treat everybody fairly … We judge people on the basis of their character and their performance, not on their sexuality. I’m very proud of him.”
Collins, a center for the Washington Wizards, revealed his sexuality in an article published Monday by Sports Illustrated. President Obama went out of his way to speak with Collins yesterday, conveying his steadfast support for the athlete and letting the 34-year-old know that he was “impressed by his courage.”
While we are yet to hear a major Republican politician speak out and support of Collins, several high-profile Democrats, including former President Bill Clinton and Massachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy, have publicly praised him.
Earlier today, during his first televised interview since coming out, Collins revealed his appreciation for the President, saying that he was “incredibly supportive.”
It’s incredible. Just try to live an honest, genuine life and the next thing you know you have the president calling you. He was incredibly supportive and he was proud of me, said this not only affected my life but others going forward.
We never know who will win control of the Oval Office in 2016 so Progressives must do everything within our power right now to support President Obama’s quest to bring an appropriate end to the human rights issue of our generation.
Watch the video, courtesy of AP: