Gay Activists Flip Middle Fingers At Reagan Painting At White House Gay Pride Reception
June 22, 2012
The White House was mum Friday about photographs posted online showing gay-rights activists, guests of President Obama, making obscene gestures at the portrait of President Reagan during a gay-pride reception at the White House last week.
Matthew "Matty" Hart and Zoe Strauss, both from the Philadelphia area, posted photographs of themselves on Facebook giving the middle finger to Mr. Reagan's official portrait hanging in the White House as they attended the party. The White House didn't respond Friday to a request for comment on the photographs.
At the reception, Mr. Obama told the attendees that the day is approaching when gay citizens will enjoy full equality in America.
"We'll get there because of every man and woman and activist and ally who is moving us forward by the force of their moral arguments, but more importantly, by the force of their example," Mr. Obama said.
Mr. Hart didn't return a call seeking comment, but he told Philadelphia magazine that he despises Mr. Reagan's legacy.
"Yeah, f- Reagan," Mr. Hart said. "Ronald Reagan has blood on his hands. The man was in the White House as AIDS exploded, and he was happy to see plenty of gay men and queer people die. He was a murderous fool, and I have no problem saying so. Don't invite me back. I don't care."
Mr. Hart is national director of public engagement at Solutions for Progress, which receives public and private funds to help "individuals and families working to overcome poverty and to build long-term financial stability," according to its web site. Ms. Strauss is a photographer.
Former Rep. John LeBoutillier, an author, wrote in 2003 that Mr. Reagan was a "tolerant and kind man" and denied accounts that Mr. Reagan was intolerant of gays.