President Obama Credits Ellen DeGeneres With Turning the Tide on LGBT Equality
During his visit to The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Friday, President Obama nearly brought tears to the host’s eyes when he credited her for “changing hearts and minds” on LGBT issues.
“There was no dancing for Obama this time. No Whip/Nae Nae or games of “Heads Up!”as Clinton has eagerly done on the show in the past few months. Instead, Obama’s conversation with Ellen DeGeneres was mostly a heartfelt reflection on his presidency. And he surprised the host by giving her credit for what has been perhaps the biggest social sea change of the last eight years.
“I cannot thank you enough for what you have done for the gay community,” DeGeneres told the president to cheers from her studio audience.
Calling nationwide marriage equality and the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” some of his “proudest” achievements, Obama quickly turned the praise around on DeGeneres. As much as he has been able to do with laws, he said, “Changing hearts and minds, I don’t think anyone has been as influential as you on that. I really mean it. That’s true.”
“Your courage — and you’re just really likable,” Obama continued as DeGeneres visibly took a deep breath to compose herself. “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 co-workers and then attitudes shift. And the laws followed, but it started with folks like you. I’m so proud of you.”
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