President Barack Obama today issued his annual proclamation declaring June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Month just as Pride parades and festivals get under way in cities across the country.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) also issued a Pride Month video (http://tinyurl.com/6m8wypg) in which she recounts the “dark days” of the Stonewall riots and other setbacks, noting that progress has been made since then.
In his proclamation, Obama starts out by noting that ordinary Americans “have led a proud and inexorable march toward freedom, fairness, and full equality under the law.”
“The LGBT community has written a proud chapter in the fundamentally American story. From brave men and women who came out and spoke out to union and faith leaders who rallied for equality to activists and advocates who challenged unjust laws and marched on Washington, LGBT Americans and allies have achieved what once seemed inconceivable. This month, we reflect on their enduring legacy, celebrate the movement that has made progress possible, and recommit to securing the fullest blessings of freedom for all Americans,” the proclamation reads.
Obama also describes how his administration has worked to broaden opportunity, advance equality, and level the playing field for LGBT people and communities. That includes passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act; action to end housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and expanding hospital visitation rights for LGBT patients and their loved ones. And of course, Obama mentions the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the policy that had prevented gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.
The proclamation also makes note of Obama’s historic statement last month that he supports marriage equality for same-sex couples.
“And because we must treat others the way we want to be treated, I personally believe in marriage equality for same-sex couples,” the proclamation states.
The proclamation calls upon the country to “eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people.”
In her video message, Pelosi also mentions recent achievements such as the repeal of DADT, which “took its rightful place in the dustbin of history.”
“President Obama made it the policy of his administration to no longer defend the shameful Defense of Marriage Act,” Pelosi added.
Pelosi noted that more needs to be done, including ending workplace discrimination.
“We must protect and preserve the rights of all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation,” she said.