Obama promises to repeal military ban on gays

"This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are," Obama said in his State of the Union Address.

"We are going to crack down on violations of equal pay laws – so that women get equal pay for an equal day's work," he said.

"And we should continue the work of fixing our broken immigration system – to secure our borders, enforce our laws, and ensure that everyone who plays by the rules can contribute to our economy and enrich our nations," Obama said.

"In the end, it is our ideals, our values, that built America – values that allowed us to forge a nation made up of immigrants from every corner of the globe; values that drive our citizens still. Every day, Americans meet their responsibilities to their families and their employers," he said.

In a speech in October last year to gay and lesbian activists, Obama promised to repeal the ban.

"Time and again, they lend a hand to their neighbours and give back to their country. They take pride in their labour, and are generous in spirit. These aren't Republican values or Democratic values they're living by; business values or labor values. They are American values," Obama said.

"Unfortunately, too many of our citizens have lost faith that our biggest institutions – our corporations, our media, and yes, our government – still reflect these same values. Each of these institutions are full of honorable men and women doing important work that helps our country prosper," said the US President.

"But each time a CEO rewards himself for failure, or a banker puts the rest of us at risk for his own selfish gain, people’s doubts grow. Each time lobbyists game the system or politicians tear each other down instead of lifting this country up, we lose faith. The more that TV pundits reduce serious debates into silly arguments, and big issues into sound bites, our citizens turn away," he added.

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