US president Barack Obama has proclaimed the month of June to be LGBT Pride month in the US.
In a statement sent from the White House yesterday (30 May), Obama declared June to be gay pride month, called for an end to the discrimination of gay people at work and remembered the legacy of Stonewall.
‘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,’ he said.
‘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.’
‘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.’
Obama addressed the fight for equal marriage the US has seen, particularly over the past year.
‘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,’ he said.
‘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.’
The US president also pledged to continue to fight for equality in other areas. In his statement, Obama mentioned the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and the Affordable Care Act to help at-risk groups with HIV.
‘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,’ he said.
‘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.’
Obama also slammed anti-gay persecution happening around the world, branding such behaviour as ‘unacceptable.’
‘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.’
Finally, Obama remembered the famous Stonewall riots.
‘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,’ he said.