Obama to all-male university graduates: Be the best husband to "your boyfriend or partner"

The president's inclusive remarks were about "setting an example for what it means to be a man," Obama said

Published May 20, 2013 4:36PM (EDT)


President Obama addressed Morehouse College's 2013 graduating class over the weekend and, in his speech on "what it means to be a man," told the all-male graduating class to be the "best husband to your wife, your boyfriend or your partner":

Keep setting an example for what it means to be a man. Be the best husband to your wife or your boyfriend or your partner. Be the best father you can be to your children. Because nothing is more important.

He went on to urge the students to "care about justice for everybody":

As Morehouse Men, many of you know what it’s like to be an outsider, know what it’s like to be marginalized, know what it’s like to feel the sting of discrimination. And that’s an experience that a lot of Americans share. Hispanic Americans know that feeling when somebody asks them where they come from or tell them to go back. Gay and lesbian Americans feel it when a stranger passes judgment on their parenting skills or the love that they share. Muslim Americans feel it when they’re stared at with suspicion because of their faith. Any woman who knows the injustice of earning less pay for doing the same work -- she knows what it’s like to be on the outside looking in.

A remark about being a good husband to one's husband may seem ordinary coming from a pro-gay marriage politician, but the president's willingness to address LGBT equality in a speech that wasn't explicitly about gay rights is a glimpse at what inclusivity actually looks like in practice -- making the rights of gays and lesbians an ordinary part of everyday life and speech.

You can watch his remarks here (beginning at 22:00):

By Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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