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Presidential Proclamation: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month
As Americans, it is our birthright that all people are created equal and deserve the same rights, privileges, and opportunities. Since our earliest days of independence, our Nation has striven to fulfill that promise. An important chapter in our great, unfinished story is the movement for fairness and equality on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) 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.
LGBT Americans have enriched and strengthened the fabric of our national life. From business leaders and professors to athletes and first responders, LGBT individuals have achieved success and prominence in every discipline. They are our mothers and fathers, our sons and daughters, and our friends and neighbors. Across my Administration, openly LGBT employees are serving at every level. Thanks to 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.
My Administration has advanced our journey by signing into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which strengthens Federal protections against crimes based on gender identity or sexual orientation. We renewed the Ryan White CARE Act, which provides life saving medical services and support to Americans living with HIV/AIDS, and finally eliminated the HIV entry ban. I also signed a Presidential Memorandum directing hospitals receiving Medicare and Medicaid funds to give LGBT patients the compassion and security they deserve in their time of need, including the ability to choose someone other than an immediate family member to visit them and make medical decisions.
In other areas, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a series of proposals to ensure core housing programs are open to everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. HUD also announced the first ever national study of discrimination against members of the LGBT community in the rental and sale of housing. Additionally, the Department of Health and Human Services has created a National Resource Center for LGBT Elders.
Much work remains to fulfill our Nation’s promise of equal justice under law for LGBT Americans. That is why we must give committed gay couples the same rights and responsibilities afforded to any married couple, and repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. We must protect the rights of LGBT families by securing their adoption rights, ending employment discrimination against LGBT Americans, and ensuring Federal employees receive equal benefits. We must create safer schools so all our children may learn in a supportive environment. I am also committed to ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” so patriotic LGBT Americans can serve openly in our military, and I am working with the Congress and our military leadership to accomplish that goal.
As we honor the LGBT Americans who have given so much to our Nation, let us remember that if one of us is unable to realize full equality, we all fall short of our founding principles. Our Nation draws its strength from our diversity, with each of us contributing to the greater whole. By affirming these rights and values, each American benefits from the further advancement of 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 2010 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon all Americans to observe this month by fighting prejudice and discrimination in their own lives and everywhere it exists.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.
This slipped past me on Friday. Thanks to @cwebber and @jasonriedy on Identi.ca, I got the link this morning on my Blackberry. This proclamation has gotten no coverage on the innertubes I blow around in–@jasonriedy tells me LGBT month was duly proclaimed last year–but I feel it’s important enough to post even though the Blo’sphere, evidently, does not.
I grew up in Oklahoma, where oppression of women and non-heteros is still maintained in state law, and where an informal but insidious civilian form of “don’t ask don’t tell” is maintained in social custom, particularly in the workplace. Oklahoma State Question 711 was on the ballot in November 2004, and it passed by an overwhelming margin. It amended the State Constitution to ban gay marriages, and also prohibits any benefits or legal recognition or protection to same sex couples. I have not forgotten this despicable act on the part of a majority of my fellow Oklahomans. As I wrote at the time:
I was born and raised in Oklahoma. I am married and my wife and I enjoy all the rights and benefits of any (hetero) married couple in the State of Oklahoma.
I have never thought that my marriage would be in any way diminished by the legal recognition of the union of two people who happen to be the same sex. In fact, I think all citizens having the right to legally consumate their intimate partnerships without regard to sex enhances the institution of marriage, strengthens the commonweal of our society, and promotes and protects families. I agree with Abraham Lincoln’s dictum: Those who would deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.
I love my native ground; the long low wooded hills; the shallow meandering rivers; the open plains. But I’ll be damned if I love the bigotry, the hypocrisy, and the hatred that infests it.
Guess what. I don’t even live in Oklahoma anymore, and I’m still mad about it, and I’m angry about all the rest of the vile bullshit the Oklahoma legislature has passed into state law. When I think about my friends still living in state, it comes home. I come home, with rage in my heart.
So. Obama’s presidential proclamation is just a wordy gesture twice told; the daily juggernauts of jizzardy didn’t stop jerking the circle for a nano-nano second. But coming after the deal on repeal of DADT in the Armed Forces, it comes like a balletic Hey Moe poke in the collective eye of all amoralistic moralists, pulpit bullies, and family vipers that infest our state legislatures. Good on you, Mr. President.