President Obama delivered the commencement address Saturday at the historically African-American Morehouse College and offered two mentions of gay and lesbian Americans in comments that were slightly extemporaneous.
In a half-hour speech that touched on themes of discrimination and shared struggle, Obama's prepared remarks included a veiled reference to gay families, reports BuzzFeed's Chris Geidner. But the president went off-script when he delivered the address, changing the intended wording slightly, but with great impact.
After extolling the importance of providing for one's family, the country's first African-American president told the graduating class of mostly black men, "That's what I'm asking all of you to do: 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."
While it was a subtle mention, the graduates took notice and began to murmur, prompting the president to raise a finger to quiet the crowd.
Geidner notes that Obama's remarks prepared in advance had the president challenging graduates to "be the best husband to your wife, or boyfriend to your partner, or father to your children that you can be."
Obama also drew parallels between the African-American struggle for equality and the prejudice many LGBT people still face today. Citing the "sting of discrimination" that many of the African-American graduates at Martin Luther King Jr.'s alma mater may have experienced, the president noted that sentiment was shared by "gay and lesbian Americans. ... When a stranger passes judgment on their parenting skills or the love that they share."