US President Barack Obama has capped off a year of victories for the LGBTI rights movement by acknowledging Americans ‘no matter who we are or who we love’ in the opening paragraph of his 2013 Thanksgiving Day Presidential Proclamation.
‘Thanksgiving offers each of us the chance to count our many blessings – the freedoms we enjoy, the time we spend with loved ones, the brave men and women who defend our Nation at home and abroad,’ Obama wrote in a proclamation posted on the White House website.
‘This tradition reminds us that no matter what our background or beliefs, no matter who we are or who we love, at our core we are first and foremost Americans.
‘When we join with friends and neighbors to alleviate suffering and make our communities whole, we honor the spirit of President Abraham Lincoln, who called on his fellow citizens to "fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union."’
‘This Thanksgiving Day, let us forge deeper connections with our loved ones. Let us extend our gratitude and our compassion. And let us lift each other up and recognize, in the oldest spirit of this tradition – that we rise or fall as one Nation, under God.’
This year in June the US Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act which the Obama Administration refused to defend in court.
Then on 14 August the Department of Defense, under Obama, announced that it would provide spousal and family benefits to military service members in same-sex marriages on the same terms as it does to those in different-sex marriages.
Obama also personally weighed in in several state efforts to legalize same-sex marriage this year, calling on state lawmakers to do so.
He began the start of the year calling for gay and lesbian equality in his second inauguration speech on 21 January – becoming the first US president to do so.
‘Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law — for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well,’ Obama said in January.