President Barack Obama highlighted LGBT rights work that lies ahead as he joined the chorus of LGBT Pride Month proclaimers Friday (May 31).
“This year, we celebrate LGBT Pride Month at a moment of great hope and progress, recognizing that more needs to be done,” Obama said in a statement Friday.
“We have witnessed real and lasting change, but our work is not complete,” Obama said. He said he continues to support a “fully inclusive’ Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit employers from discriminating against people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. He also said he’s continuing to back the Respect for Marriage Act. That bill, of which California Senator Dianne Feinstein (D) is a lead sponsor, would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. DOMA prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriages. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to announce in June whether it will allow a key section of the law to stand.
Obama, who during his presidency didn’t come out in support of same-sex marriage until May 2012, pointed to the growing number of states where same-sex marriage is legal.
“Support for LGBT equality is growing, led by a generation which understands that, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., ‘injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,’” Obama said. “In the past year, for the first time, voters in multiple states affirmed marriage equality for same-sex couples. State and local governments have taken important steps to provide much-needed protections for transgender Americans.”
In his proclamation, the president also pointed to health care.
“My Administration continues to implement the Affordable Care Act, which beginning in 2014, prohibits insurers from denying coverage to consumers based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which addresses the disparate impact of the HIV epidemic among certain LGBT sub-communities,” he said.
“We have a long way to go, but if we continue on this path together, I am confident that one day soon, from coast to coast, all of our young people will look to the future with the same sense of promise and possibility,” Obama said in his statement, which also touted his signing of laws addressing hate crimes and ending the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on gays serving openly in the military, among other achievements. “I am confident because I have seen the talent, passion, and commitment of LGBT advocates and their allies, and I know that when voices are joined in common purpose, they cannot be stopped.”