April 30, 2013 | by Chris Johnson
Obama ‘very proud’ of Collins for coming out
Barack Obama talked about Jason Collins during a news briefing on Tuesday (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

President Obama talked about Jason Collins during a news briefing on Tuesday (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

President Obama said on Tuesday he “couldn’t be prouder” of Jason Collins for coming out as gay and cited the NBA player’s announcement as an example of the recent progress the country has seen on behalf of the LGBT community.

Obama made the remarks during a news conference with reporters in the White House briefing room after reporters called him back to the podium to respond to Collins’ decision to come out.

“I’ll say something about Jason Collins,” Obama said. “I had a chance to talk to him yesterday. He seems like a terrific young man, and I told him I couldn’t be prouder of him. 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 added the decision of Collins — who’s considered the first male player to come out as gay in a major league — is particularly important “given the importance of sports in our society.”

“For an individual who excelled at the highest levels in one of the major sports to go out and say, “This is who I am, and I’m proud of it. I’m still a great competitor. I’m still 7 foot tall and can bang with Shaq, and deliver a hard foul,” 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 like that who’s unafraid, I think it’s a great thing,” Obama said.

Obama concluded, “And I think America should be part that this is just one more step in this ongoing recognition that we treat everybody fairly, and everybody’s part of the family, and we just people on the basis of their character and their performance, and not their sexual orientation. So, I’m very proud of him.”

Obama’s affirmation that he spoke with Collins on Monday is consistent with a Blade report on Monday that he reached out to Collins to express support and say he admired the courage of the player.

Watch the video here (courtesy Talking Points Memo)

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

4 Comments
  • peter rosenstein

    I had assumed Chris that you called him back to the podium. But so much of the reporters focus on LGBT questions comes from your persistance with Jay Carney. Keep up the great reporting.

  • Mr.President when will gay Marriage become legal in TX so want to get married someday to someone that means the world to me so could u make TX legal marriage next. Thank u u .From ENRIQUETA MENA. MERCEDES TX

  • An old chinese theory says all the flowers to thrive.

  • PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA'S ADDRESS A CALL FOR EQUALITY..IT IS GREAT THAT OUR GREAT ATHLETES ARE COMING OUT TO SOCIETY OF THERE LIFE STYLE..I KNEW HE WAS AND SO GLAD HE IS GAY..IF SOME1 IS GAY, THAT DOESn't MAKE THEM LESS OF A PERSON BETTER YET IT MAKES THEM MORE OF A PERSON TO COME OUT & ADMIT IT..BEING GAY OR LESBIAN IS NOT A DISEASE..FOR YOU JASON COLLINS, DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY..BE PROUD OF WHO YOU ARE TO HELL WITH EVERYONE ELSE THINKS OF YOUR PREFERENCE THEY DOn't HAVE TO LIVE YOUR LIFE..LIFE IS NOT BASED ON THE MONEY YOU EARN OR THE SUCCESS YOU ACHIEVED..ITS ALL ABOUT BEING HAPPY WITH WHO YOU ARE AND WHO YOU ARE WITH..THE REAL LIFE IS NOT THE OUTSIDE OURSELVES BUT WITHIN..STAY TRUE AND BE YOU..BE PROUD OF YOURSELF AND WELCOME TO OUR LGBT COMMUNITY..SPEAK LOUD AND STAND PROUD..LGBT SALUTES JASON COLLINS AND HATS OFF TO YOU PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, LETS SHOW OTHER PEOPLE THAT DISCRIMINATION CANT BRING US DOWN..THANKS PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA YOU STLL FIGHTING FOR EQUALITY AND FAIR TREATMENT FOR LGBT COMMUNITY..NO TO BIGOTRY..PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, GOD KNOWS YOU HAVE A GOOD HEART..LGBT DESERVE EQUALITY WITHOUT PREJUDICE.. =)

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