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President Proclaims June LGBT Pride Month

President Proclaims June LGBT Pride Month

This week President Obama issued a proclamation that June is to be Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month. In the proclamation Obama revisits LGBT rights victories such as the passing of the Matthew Shepard, James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, and touches on work that is still to be completed, such as the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

The proclamation, as it appears on the White House website, can be found below:

Presidential Proclamation–Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month

——-
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION

The story of America’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community is the story of our fathers and sons, our mothers and daughters, and our friends and neighbors who continue the task of making our country a more perfect Union. It is a story about the struggle to realize the great American promise that all people can live with dignity and fairness under the law. Each June, we commemorate the courageous individuals who have fought to achieve this promise for LGBT Americans, and we rededicate ourselves to the pursuit of equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Since taking office, my Administration has made significant progress towards achieving equality for LGBT Americans. Last December, I was proud to sign the repeal of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. With this repeal, gay and lesbian Americans will be able to serve openly in our Armed Forces for the first time in our Nation’s history. Our national security will be strengthened and the heroic contributions these Americans make to our military, and have made throughout our history, will be fully recognized.

My Administration has also taken steps to eliminate discrimination against LGBT Americans in Federal housing programs and to give LGBT Americans the right to visit their loved ones in the hospital. We have made clear through executive branch nondiscrimination policies that discrimination on the basis of gender identity in the Federal workplace will not be tolerated. I have continued to nominate and appoint highly qualified, openly LGBT individuals to executive branch and judicial positions. Because we recognize that LGBT rights are human rights, my Administration stands with advocates of equality around the world in leading the fight against pernicious laws targeting LGBT persons and malicious attempts to exclude LGBT organizations from full participation in the international system. We led a global campaign to ensure “sexual orientation” was included in the United Nations resolution on extrajudicial execution — the only United Nations resolution that specifically mentions LGBT people — to send the unequivocal message that no matter where it occurs, state-sanctioned killing of gays and lesbians is indefensible. No one should be harmed because of who they are or who they love, and my Administration has mobilized unprecedented public commitments from countries around the world to join in the fight against hate and homophobia.

At home, we are working to address and eliminate violence against LGBT individuals through our enforcement and implementation of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. We are also working to reduce the threat of bullying against young people, including LGBT youth. My Administration is actively engaged with educators and community leaders across America to reduce violence and discrimination in schools. To help dispel the myth that bullying is a harmless or inevitable part of growing up, the First Lady and I hosted the first White House Conference on Bullying Prevention in March. Many senior Administration officials have also joined me in reaching out to LGBT youth who have been bullied by recording “It Gets Better” video messages to assure them they are not alone.

This month also marks the 30th anniversary of the emergence of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which has had a profound impact on the LGBT community. Though we have made strides in combating this devastating disease, more work remains to be done, and I am committed to expanding access to HIV/AIDS prevention and care. Last year, I announced the first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States. This strategy focuses on combinations of evidence-based approaches to decrease new HIV infections in high risk communities, improve care for people living with HIV/AIDS, and reduce health disparities. My Administration also increased domestic HIV/AIDS funding to support the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program and HIV prevention, and to invest in HIV/AIDS-related research. However, government cannot take on this disease alone. This landmark anniversary is an opportunity for the LGBT community and allies to recommit to raising awareness about HIV/AIDS and continuing the fight against this deadly pandemic.

Every generation of Americans has brought our Nation closer to fulfilling its promise of equality. While progress has taken time, our achievements in advancing the rights of LGBT Americans remind us that history is on our side, and that the American people will never stop striving toward liberty and justice for all.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2011 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.

 BARACK OBAMA

Not all are thrilled with the proclamation however, and in particular critics cite that Obama fails to mention same-sex partnership recognition despite the Obama administration’s February 23 announcement that it could no longer defend the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act.

Now, there is precedent for mentioning this topic given that 2009′s proclamation included a reference to civil unions and 2010′s proclamation stated that the Defense of Marriage Act must be repealed. Read more over at Metro Weekly.

Given how controversial the February 23 decision to no longer defend DOMA Section 3 proved to be (regardless of the legality of the decision), the omission isn’t that surprising, but for LGBT rights advocates who are looking for progress on DOMA, it is perhaps enough to give pause, especially as Obama prepares to enter a reelection campaign.

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Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to -Marlith-.

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98 comments

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11:56AM PDT on Jun 22, 2011

What is the federal offense for a person who discriminates against a LGBT person? This proclamation is as hollow as waving a rainbow flag. It's a gesture, a pacifier. There is no political protection behind it.

6:31PM PDT on Jun 5, 2011

Is there not some irony in him declaring an entire month when same sex couples do not have the right to marry & many others. It almost seems as if he is tossing out small bread crumbs from the non-controversial pie. I would like to see him take and stand and really make sure this county is a democracy where all have rights not just those with wealth and power. People in love should have the right to get married regardless and they shouldn't have to fear for their lives or safety.

2:01AM PDT on Jun 5, 2011

@ Rebecca Lynn M...1st Rebecca, not all of US are boo-hooing. I happen to think the life I and my partner of 16 years has it pretty good! Yes, we have come a long way, and I'm grateful, but still many rights of equality are still not afforded to us.

In regards to not having a "white-hetro-female celebration month"...well if you wanted to have one, that would be fine with me! Organize it! But just so you know, the parade is more than just gays, lesbians, leather and drag queens...it's a time to honor many of the business, organizations, churches, supportive politicians, and countless individuals who have donated their time to LGBT causes, AIDS fund raising for reseach and the list goes on. It gives the LGBT community and straight persons alike time to stand on the sidelines of the parades and "thank" those who have worked so tirelessly for the community all year. The entrance fees to the following festivals raise funds to support the many causes, not to mention generating dollars in revenue to the various cities in the hotel industry and surrounding businesses and restaurants that people attending the parade patronize during pride month and pride weekend.

In regards to any "clubbing like seals", well I had enough of that when I was younger in school...being pushed down a flight of concrete steps and having my head bashed into the wall a few times. But now I have to say life is pretty good due to the hard efforts of many!

8:09AM PDT on Jun 4, 2011

I agree with Rebecca ... it is going way too far

8:06AM PDT on Jun 4, 2011

I agree wit Ellen T and with Debbie Doyle and some others, and yes it is so much hate and insults in the comments of many, I'm heterosexual, a Christian, and NOT homophobic, but this is beyond ridiculuos, we are facing serious problems in our country, and what I see with the president action is #1 looking for an other group to vote for him, #2 distracting the attention of the real problems Huh I wonder if he was talking to Castro or Chavez?.

6:04AM PDT on Jun 4, 2011

At last some common sense for the US Government. - Amazing what a difference to humanity having a Democratic non white president makes rather than a republican bible bashing retard.

5:05PM PDT on Jun 3, 2011

Obama is finally doing something right! Whoop Whoop! GO LGBT's!

3:53PM PDT on Jun 3, 2011

Darcy, give me a break. Stop boo-hooing about how mean the big bad heteros are. You can't even see past your self-centerdness to see just how far GLBT rights have come, and how fast it's happened. You think perhaps you could celebrate that victory instead of over-exaggerating how terrible your lives and plight are. Sorry, but on the scale of "giving a crap-ness", wars, famine, strife, child abuse, animal cruelty, and global warming come first and there is no room for whiney people who exaggerate their misery, as if you are all subjected to an annual clubbing & slaughter like the seals. *Yawn*. Move on, you'll be just fine. And as far as "can't we all be proud of who we are"?...... Yeah, I AM proud of who I am. So where the hell is my fricking, "white, hetero-female celebration month"? Hmmm, that WOULD be rather, "in your face-ish" now wouldn't it?

3:42PM PDT on Jun 3, 2011

Does spreading hate make hate mongers happy? I thought religion was supposed to make people happy! It seems the religious fanatics are the ones who hate any one who is not like they are. Did they ever here" Love thy neighbour as thy self? They prefer to hate rather then love! Good for President Obama who chooses love!

1:28PM PDT on Jun 3, 2011

Thanks Obama, for purporting to support LGBT causes, while at the same time refusing to support LGBT marriage equality, and residency for our foreign born partners. Walks like a duck, talks like a duck, must be a duck. Quack quack.quack.
Waiting in exile to return home . . .

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