President Obama forcefully called for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act on Saturday night at the annual Human Rights Campaign fundraising dinner, but he did not come out in support of marriage equality, as some hoped he would do.
The 3,000 attendees at the dinner, which took place at the Washington Convention Center, gave the president multiple standing ovations when he touted the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” hospital visitation rights for same-sex couples and spoke out against the bullying of LGBT youth.
The most electric reaction, however, came when Obama sharply criticized the GOP presidential candidates for staying silent when audience members at a debate booed a gay soldier who asked a question about DADT.
“We don’t believe in the kind of smallness that says it’s okay for a stage full of political leaders — one of whom could end up being the president of the United States — being silent when an American soldier is booed. We don’t believe in that,” said Obama to loud cheers and a standing ovation.