LGBT Americans have once again received strong support from the White House as President Barack Obama has formally declared June 2014 as "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month" in an official proclamation.
The proclamation, which is available on the White House website, traces both the recent gains in LGBT rights in the United States, as well as reminding Americans about the Stonewall Inn and how the Gay Rights Movement as we know it today started. The entire proclamation is actually pretty short, so minus the titles at the top, it has been quoted here in its entirety. It's worth the read.
As progress spreads from State to State, as justice is delivered in the courtroom, and as more of our fellow Americans are treated with dignity and respect — our Nation becomes not only more accepting, but more equal as well. During Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, we celebrate victories that have affirmed freedom and fairness, and we recommit ourselves to completing the work that remains.
Last year, supporters of equality celebrated the Supreme Court's decision to strike down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act, a ruling which, at long last, gave loving, committed families the respect and legal protections they deserve. In keeping with this decision, my Administration is extending family and spousal benefits — from immigration benefits to military family benefits — to legally married same-sex couples.
My Administration proudly stands alongside all those who fight for LGBT rights. Here at home, we have strengthened laws against violence toward LGBT Americans, taken action to prevent bullying and harassment, and prohibited discrimination in housing and hospitals. Despite this progress, LGBT workers in too many States can be fired just because of their sexual orientation or gender identity; I continue to call on the Congress to correct this injustice by passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. And in the years ahead, we will remain dedicated to addressing health disparities within the LGBT community by implementing the Affordable Care Act and the National HIV/AIDS Strategy — which focuses on improving care while decreasing HIV transmission rates among communities most at risk.
Our commitment to advancing equality for the LGBT community extends far beyond our borders. In many places around the globe, LGBT people face persecution, arrest, or even state-sponsored execution. This is unacceptable. The United States calls on every nation to join us in defending the universal human rights of our LGBT brothers and sisters.
This month, as we mark 45 years since the patrons of the Stonewall Inn defied an unjust policy and awakened a nascent movement, let us honor every brave leader who stood up, sat in, and came out, as well as the allies who supported them along the way. Following their example, let each of us speak for tolerance, justice, and dignity — because if hearts and minds continue to change over time, laws will too.
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 2014 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 thirtieth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.
Let's take a moment to reflect on what just happened, shall we? Let's consider how unlikely this was even five years ago or ten years ago. How it would have seemed pure science fiction fifteen or twenty years ago. Let's consider how much progress we have made over the last few years with the fall of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the steady march of marriage equality, federal changes in transgender related policy regarding gender marker changes, the striking down of the Defense of Marriage Act, and recently the rulings around veteran's benefits for same-sex spouses and the decision by Medicare to consider sex reassignment surgery just like any other medical treatment.
And now, the President of the United States, who has already publicly supported marriage equality after his own views "evolved" and led his military as Commander-in-Chief through the open integration of lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members, the so-called Leader of the Free World, has in the most public way possible, asserted that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals are full and equal human beings worthy of respect, dignity, and the full protection of the law. In America and everywhere else. And that support of anything less is anathema to the American spirit.
Damn. Just day-um.
Image via AP.