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Gay magazine 'Out' names Barack Obama ‘Ally of the Year’

By Emily Greenhouse • Nov 11, 2015 at 11:00 AM

NEW YORK — Barack Obama is the first sitting president to sit for a portrait by an LGBT magazine, according to the editors of Out magazine, which describes itself as “the world’s leading gay fashion and lifestyle brand,” and is featuring the nation’s 44th chief executive as Ally of the Year. The cover of the 2015 Out100 issue features a black-and-white close-up of the president looking straight into the camera with a Mona Lisa almost-smile. He was photographed by Ryan Pfluger.

Out editors said their selection of Obama for the cover represents “a statement on how much his administration has done to advance a singularly volatile issue that tarnished the reputations of both President Clinton and President Bush.”

In an interview with Out reporter Aaron Hicklin, Obama reflected on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, saying that the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges had not come as a surprise to him, considering the “remarkable attitude shift — in hearts and minds — across America.” Hicklin wrote, “When he was sworn in on January 20, 2009, there were two states where same-sex marriage was legal. Today it is a right nationwide. Many share credit for what has transpired, but there’s no question that without the active engagement of the 44th president of the United States, who has made securing the rights of LGBT Americans a fundamental part of his legacy, we’d still be working to fulfill that dream.”

—When Obama entered office in 2009, he reiterated his belief that the institution of marriage was reserved for partnerships of one man and one woman, but the following year, he signed a bill dropping the legal ban on openly gay people serving in the military.

—In 2011, Obama announced that his administration no longer would defend in court a law signed by President Bill Clinton that defined marriage as between one man and one woman.

—In this 2013 inaugural address, Obama made history by becoming the first president to endorse gay rights in such a high profile speech. “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law,” the president declared.

—In September, Obama nominated Eric Fanning to be secretary of the Army — who, if confirmed by the Senate, would be the first openly gay head of a military branch.

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