News » Politics

White House Invites Lesbians to State of the Union Address

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Tuesday Jan 24, 2012

Two open lesbians will attend the State of the Union address and will have special permission to sit in Michelle Obama's gallery seats, Windy City reported.

Ginger Wallace, 43, of Virginia, is an intelligence officer in the U.S. Air Force and Lorelei Kilker, 31, of Colorado, works as an environmental chemist and was a part of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The two women will travel with the First Lady and sit in her gallery seats to hear the president deliver the yearly address.

Wallace told the Chicago newspaper that Alex Nicholson, executive director of Servicemembers United, the country's largest organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans, selected her to attend the event after White House officials got in touch with him.

"We could not be more proud of Ginger for her accomplishments, her poise, and now her selection for the honor of sitting with the First Lady to watch tonight's State of the Union address in person," Nicholson said in a statement.

"She and her partner Kathy are the best role models our community has to offer, and we could not be more pleased that they have been chosen to represent us on such an historic and high-profile occasion. We thank both the President and the First Lady for honoring the sacrifices of LGBT troops, veterans, and their partners, and for publicly and proudly recognizing us as a valued part of the wider American military community."

"I could not be more honored or proud," Wallace said. "I'm representing thousands and thousands who have served or are serving.... But it's truly not about us. It's about all the gays and lesbians who have served, and those who served and we're not as fortunate as I to have full careers, and those who will serve in the future. And it is about our families and partners."

Kilker told the Washington Blade that she was invited by the White House via a phone call.

"It was a Sunday and the middle of the day," she said. "They left a message on my phone from someone who said, 'This is the White House.' I was very shocked. I didn't think that anything like this would happen. I was honored and shocked."

Kilker also said that she hopes that Obama will speak about LGBT issues, such as same-sex marriage. "I think that that's important. There have been steps, but we need something stronger."


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