Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 11 / 15 March 2018

Obama issues gay Pride proclamation

President Barack Obama issued an LGBT Pride proclamation on Friday afternoon, just ahead of the Memorial Day weekend and the beginning of Pride Month in June.

In the proclamation, Obama said, “An important chapter in our great, unfinished story is the movement for fairness and equality on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.”

“This month, as we recognize the immeasurable contributions of LGBT Americans, we renew our commitment to the struggle for equal rights for LGBT Americans and to ending prejudice and injustice wherever it exists.”

Obama noted that LGBTs are serving “at every level” of his administration, and, thanked “those who came before us – the brave men and women who marched, stood up to injustice, and brought change through acts of compassion or defiance.”

“We have made enormous progress and continue to strive for a more perfect union,” he added.

The two-page proclamation also mentions the president’s commitment to ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the military policy that prohibits gays and lesbians from serving openly. “… I am working with the Congress and our military leadership to accomplish that goal,” he stated.

On Thursday, May 27, the House of Representatives and the Senate Armed Services Committee each passed an amendment that would begin the process of dismantling DADT. That amendment, a compromise worked out during meetings at the White House on Monday, clears the way for repeal of DADT after the Pentagon Working Group established by Defense Secretary Robert Gates completes its report on December 1. After that report is completed, other items need to be done, including certification by the president, defense secretary and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that the military has prepared the necessary regulations and policies to exercise repeal.

The full Senate must still vote on the amendment, and it is likely the House will have to vote again once the measure passes in the Senate. DADT remains in effect.

In his proclamation, Obama also cited some of the administration’s accomplishments that benefit the LGBT community. Those include his signing into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act; renewing the Ryan White CARE Act to provide services for those living with HIV/AIDS; and signing a presidential memorandum directing hospitals receiving Medicare and Medicaid funds to give LGBT patients the ability to choose someone other than an immediate family member to visit them and make medical decisions.

Obama also referenced the Defense of Marriage Act and stated that it must be repealed, and of ending employment discrimination.

“We must protect the rights of LGBT families by securing their adoption rights, ending employment discrimination agaisnt LGBT Americans, and ensuring federal employees receive equal benefits,” the president stated.

Obama ended the proclamation by calling on all Americans to observe the month of June “by fighting prejudice and discrimination in their own lives and everywhere it exists.”

— Cynthia Laird, May 28, 2010 @ 4:00 pm PST
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