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As Pressure Grows, Obama Addresses Gay Rights Group

By Ed O'Keefe

The Eye, and colleagues Michael D. Shear and Anne E. Kornblut report:

President Obama, struggling to keep promises he made during last year's campaign, renewed his pledge to end the military's ban on openly gay service members as he appeared at a fundraising dinner for the nation's largest gay advocacy group on Saturday night.

"I will end 'don't ask, don't tell,' " Obama said at the Human Rights Campaign dinner. Recounting the ongoing effort to bring full civil rights to gays and lesbians, the president said: "I'm here with a simple message: I'm here with you in that fight."

Obama did not offer specifics on how he would advance the cause of allowing gays to serve openly in the military, or of same-sex marriage, two areas where his inaction as president have disappointed many gay supporters.

But on the eve of a major gay rights rally in Washington, an event aimed in part at pressuring Obama and Congress, the president was met with a standing ovation and resounding cheers. Obama acknowledged the frustration of some activists, portraying himself as a forceful ally in a lengthy fight. And while he said that gay rights are only one part of his agenda, which is loaded down with domestic and international challenges, he said that would not deter him.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | October 11, 2009; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  Administration  
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