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|President Obama issues LGBT Pride Month proclamation|
|by Laura Douglas-Brown|
|June 01, 2010 13:40|
Today marks the start of LGBT Pride Month, and for the second consecutive year, President Obama has issued a proclamation acknowledging the contributions of LGBT Americans and the work remaining to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
On May 28, Obama issued a proclamation for "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," the proclamation reads.
"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."
The proclamation notes several ways the Obama administration has "advanced our journey" on LGBT rights, including signing the gay- and trans-inclusive Matthew Shepard & James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, as well as directing hospitals that receive Medicare and Medicaid not to discriminate against same-sex couples.
It lists repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," granting further rights to gay couples, and repealing the Defense of Marriage Act among goals still to be achieved.
The same day, Obama issued proclamations for African-American Music Appreciation Month, National Oceans Month, Caribbean-American Heritage Month, Memorial Day and Great Outdoors Month, the White House website shows.
But unlike his predecessor, President George Bush, Obama did not issue a "Sanctity of Life Day" proclamation, LifeSiteNews.com, a conservative website, noted in an article about the Pride proclamation.
"Obama is consistent," Wendy Wright, president of the conservative group Concerned Women for America, told LifeSiteNews. "He takes the side that is short-sighted, harmful to individuals and society, and focused on self. He sides with those demanding that the innocent be discriminated against and the immoral celebrated. He is consistently wrong on moral issues."
President Bill Clinton was the first president to declare June as LGBT Pride Month, a tradition Bush declined to continue.
Pride month is observed in June to mark the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots, when patrons of the Stonewall Inn, a New York City gay bar, fought back against police harassment.
The rebellion is frequently seen as the launch of the modern gay rights movement, and in 1970, activists in cities around the country began holding marches and rallies during the last weekend in June to commemorate it.
Atlanta's Pride celebration moved to October in 2009, and is set for Oct. 9-10 this year.
In its place, Atlanta Pride is partnering with other community organizations to hold "Stonewall Week" activities later this month. A Pride parade and celebration is also schedule for June 19 in Augusta, Ga., while communities east of Atlanta are set to observe "East Side Pride" with a June 26 picnic in Clarkston.
The full text of President Obama's 2010 Pride proclamation:
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.
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