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LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, AND TRANSGENDER PRIDE MONTH, 2009 [PROCLAMATION]
WHITEHOUSE.GOV - “BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION” ^ | June 1, 2009 | n/a
Posted on June 1, 2009 10:21:16 PM PDT by Cindy
Note: The following text is a quote:
THE BRIEFING ROOM
THE WHITE HOUSE Office of the Press Secretary
___________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release June 1, 2009
LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, AND TRANSGENDER PRIDE MONTH, 2009 - - - - - - - BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION
Forty years ago, patrons and supporters of the Stonewall Inn in New York City resisted police harassment that had become all too common for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Out of this resistance, the LGBT rights movement in America was born. During LGBT Pride Month, we commemorate the events of June 1969 and commit to achieving equal justice under law for LGBT Americans.
LGBT Americans have made, and continue to make, great and lasting contributions that continue to strengthen the fabric of American society. There are many well-respected LGBT leaders in all professional fields, including the arts and business communities. LGBT Americans also mobilized the Nation to respond to the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic and have played a vital role in broadening this country’s response to the HIV pandemic.
Due in no small part to the determination and dedication of the LGBT rights movement, more LGBT Americans are living their lives openly today than ever before. I am proud to be the first President to appoint openly LGBT candidates to Senate-confirmed positions in the first 100 days of an Administration. These individuals embody the best qualities we seek in public servants, and across my Administration — in both the White House and the Federal agencies — openly LGBT employees are doing their jobs with distinction and professionalism.
The LGBT rights movement has achieved great progress, but there is more work to be done. LGBT youth should feel safe to learn without the fear of harassment, and LGBT families and seniors should be allowed to live their lives with dignity and respect.
My Administration has partnered with the LGBT community to advance a wide range of initiatives. At the international level, I have joined efforts at the United Nations to decriminalize homosexuality around the world. Here at home, I continue to support measures to bring the full spectrum of equal rights to LGBT Americans. These measures include enhancing hate crimes laws, supporting civil unions and Federal rights for LGBT couples, outlawing discrimination in the workplace, ensuring adoption rights, and ending the existing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in a way that strengthens our Armed Forces and our national security. We must also commit ourselves to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic by both reducing the number of HIV infections and providing care and support services to people living with HIV/AIDS across the United States.
These issues affect not only the LGBT community, but also our entire Nation. As long as the promise of equality for all remains unfulfilled, all Americans are affected. If we can work together to advance the principles upon which our Nation was founded, every American will benefit. During LGBT Pride Month, I call upon the LGBT community, the Congress, and the American people to work together to promote equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2009 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to turn back discrimination and prejudice everywhere it exists.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.
Note: The following text is a quote:
THE BRIEFING ROOM
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release June 29, 2009
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
AT LGBT PRIDE MONTH RECEPTION
4:35 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody. Hello, hello, hello. (Applause.) Hey! Good to see you. (Applause.) Im waiting for FLOTUS here. FLOTUS always politics more than POTUS.
MRS. OBAMA: No, you move too slow. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: It is great to see everybody here today and theyre just Ive got a lot of friends in the room, but there are some people I want to especially acknowledge. First of all, somebody who helped ensure that we are in the White House, Steve Hildebrand. Please give Steve a big round of applause. (Applause.) Wheres Steve? Hes around here somewhere. (Applause.)
The new chair of the Export-Import Bank, Fred Hochberg. (Applause.) Wheres Fred? Theres Fred. Good to see you, Fred. Our Director of the Institute of Education Sciences at DOE, John Easton. Wheres John? (Applause.) A couple of special friends Bishop Gene Robinson. Wheres Gene? (Applause.) Hey, Gene. Ambassador Michael Guest is here. (Applause.) Ambassador Jim Hormel is here. (Applause.) Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown is here. (Applause.)
All of you are here. (Laughter and applause.) Welcome to your White House. (Applause.) So
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible.) (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: Somebody asked from the Lincoln Bedroom here. (Laughter.) You knew I was from Chicago too. (Laughter.)
Its good to see so many friends and familiar faces, and I deeply appreciate the support Ive received from so many of you. Michelle appreciates it and I want you to know that you have our support, as well. (Applause.) And you have my thanks for the work you do every day in pursuit of equality on behalf of the millions of people in this country who work hard and care about their communities and who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. (Applause.)
Now this struggle, I dont need to tell you, is incredibly difficult, although I think its important to consider the extraordinary progress that we have made. There are unjust laws to overturn and unfair practices to stop. And though weve made progress, there are still fellow citizens, perhaps neighbors or even family members and loved ones, who still hold fast to worn arguments and old attitudes; who fail to see your families like their families; and who would deny you the rights that most Americans take for granted. And I know this is painful and I know it can be heartbreaking.
And yet all of you continue, leading by the force of the arguments you make but also by the power of the example that you set in your own lives as parents and friends, as PTA members and leaders in the community. And thats important, and Im glad that so many LGBT families could join us today. (Applause.) For we know that progress depends not only on changing laws but also changing hearts. And that real, transformative change never begins in Washington.
(Cell phone quacks.)
Whose duck is back there? (Laughter.)
MRS. OBAMA: Its a duck.
THE PRESIDENT: Theres a duck quacking in there somewhere. (Laughter.) Where do you guys get these ring tones, by the way? (Laughter.) Im just curious. (Laughter.)
Indeed, thats the story of the movement for fairness and equality not just for those who are gay, but for all those in our history whove been denied the rights and responsibilities of citizenship; whove been told that the full blessings and opportunities of this country were closed to them. Its the story of progress sought by those who started off with little influence or power; by men and women who brought about change through quiet, personal acts of compassion and courage and sometimes defiance wherever and whenever they could.
Thats the story of a civil rights pioneer whos here today, Frank Kameny, who was fired (applause.) Frank was fired from his job as an astronomer for the federal government simply because he was gay. And in 1965, he led a protest outside the White House, which was at the time both an act of conscience but also an act of extraordinary courage. And so we are proud of you, Frank, and we are grateful to you for your leadership. (Applause.)
Its the story of the Stonewall protests, which took place 40 years ago this week, when a group of citizens with few options, and fewer supporters decided theyd had enough and refused to accept a policy of wanton discrimination. And two men who were at those protests are here today. Imagine the journey that theyve travelled.
Its the story of an epidemic that decimated a community and the gay men and women who came to support one another and save one another; and who continue to fight this scourge; and who demonstrated before the world that different kinds of families can show the same compassion and support in a time of need that we all share the capacity to love.
So this story, this struggle, continues today for even as we face extraordinary challenges as a nation, we cannot and will not put aside issues of basic equality. (Applause.) We seek an America in which no one feels the pain of discrimination based on who you are or who you love.
And I know that many in this room dont believe that progress has come fast enough, and I understand that. Its not for me to tell you to be patient, any more than it was for others to counsel patience to African Americans who were petitioning for equal rights a half century ago.
But I say this: We have made progress and we will make more. And I want you to know that I expect and hope to be judged not by words, not by promises Ive made, but by the promises that my administration keeps. And by the time you receive (applause.) Weve been in office six months now. I suspect that by the time this administration is over, I think you guys will have pretty good feelings about the Obama administration. (Applause.)
Now, while there is much more work to do, we can point to important changes weve already put in place since coming into office. Ive signed a memorandum requiring all agencies to extend as many federal benefits as possible to LGBT families as current law allows. And these are benefits that will make a real difference for federal employees and Foreign Service Officers, who are so often treated as if their families dont exist. And Id like to note that one of the key voices in helping us develop this policy is John Berry, our director of the Office of Personnel Management, who is here today. And I want to thank John Berry. (Applause.)
Ive called on Congress to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act to help end discrimination (applause) to help end discrimination against same-sex couples in this country. Now, I want to add we have a duty to uphold existing law, but I believe we must do so in a way that does not exacerbate old divides. And fulfilling this duty in upholding the law in no way lessens my commitment to reversing this law. Ive made that clear.
Im also urging Congress to pass the Domestic Partners Benefits and Obligations Act, which will guarantee the full range of benefits, including health care, to LGBT couples and their children. (Applause.) My administration is also working hard to pass an employee non-discrimination bill and hate crimes bill, and were making progress on both fronts. (Applause.) Judy and Dennis Shepard, as well as their son Logan, are here today. I met with Judy in the Oval Office in May (applause) and I assured her and I assured all of you that we are going to pass an inclusive hate crimes bill into law, a bill named for their son Matthew. (Applause.)
In addition, my administration is committed to rescinding the discriminatory ban on entry to the United States based on HIV status. (Applause.) The Office of Management and Budget just concluded a review of a proposal to repeal this entry ban, which is a first and very big step towards ending this policy. And we all know that HIV/AIDS continues to be a public health threat in many communities, including right here in the District of Columbia. And thats why this past Saturday, on National HIV Testing Day, I was proud once again to encourage all Americans to know their status and get tested the way Michelle and I know our status and got tested. (Applause.)
And finally, I want to say a word about dont ask, dont tell. As I said before Ill say it again I believe dont ask, dont tell doesnt contribute to our national security. (Applause.) In fact, I believe preventing patriotic Americans from serving their country weakens our national security. (Applause.)
Now, my administration is already working with the Pentagon and members of the House and the Senate on how well go about ending this policy, which will require an act of Congress.
Someday, Im confident, well look back at this transition and ask why it generated such angst, but as Commander-in-Chief, in a time of war, I do have a responsibility to see that this change is administered in a practical way and a way that takes over the long term. Thats why Ive asked the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to develop a plan for how to thoroughly implement a repeal.
I know that every day that passes without a resolution is a deep disappointment to those men and women who continue to be discharged under this policy patriots who often possess critical language skills and years of training and whove served this country well. But what I hope is that these cases underscore the urgency of reversing this policy not just because its the right thing to do, but because it is essential for our national security.
Now, even as we take these steps, we must recognize that real progress depends not only on the laws we change but, as I said before, on the hearts we open. For if were honest with ourselves, well acknowledge that there are good and decent people in this country who dont yet fully embrace their gay brothers and sisters not yet.
Thats why Ive spoken about these issues not just in front of you, but in front of unlikely audiences in front of African American church members, in front of other audiences that have traditionally resisted these changes. And thats what Ill continue to do so. Thats how well shift attitudes. Thats how well honor the legacy of leaders like Frank and many others who have refused to accept anything less than full and equal citizenship.
Now, 40 years ago, in the heart of New York City at a place called the Stonewall Inn, a group of citizens, including a few who are here today, as I said, defied an unjust policy and awakened a nascent movement.
It was the middle of the night. The police stormed the bar, which was known for being one of the few spots where it was safe to be gay in New York. Now, raids like this were entirely ordinary. Because it was considered obscene and illegal to be gay, no establishments for gays and lesbians could get licenses to operate. The nature of these businesses, combined with the vulnerability of the gay community itself, meant places like Stonewall, and the patrons inside, were often the victims of corruption and blackmail.
Now, ordinarily, the raid would come and the customers would disperse. But on this night, something was different. There are many accounts of what happened, and much has been lost to history, but what we do know is this: People didnt leave. They stood their ground. And over the course of several nights they declared that they had seen enough injustice in their time. This was an outpouring against not just what they experienced that night, but what they had experienced their whole lives. And as with so many movements, it was also something more: It was at this defining moment that these folks who had been marginalized rose up to challenge not just how the world saw them, but also how they saw themselves.
As weve seen so many times in history, once that spirit takes hold there is little that can stand in its way. (Applause.) And the riots at Stonewall gave way to protests, and protests gave way to a movement, and the movement gave way to a transformation that continues to this day. It continues when a partner fights for her right to sit at the hospital bedside of a woman she loves. It continues when a teenager is called a name for being different and says, So what if I am? It continues in your work and in your activism, in your fight to freely live your lives to the fullest.
In one year after the protests, a few hundred gays and lesbians and their supporters gathered at the Stonewall Inn to lead a historic march for equality. But when they reached Central Park, the few hundred that began the march had swelled to 5,000. Something had changed, and it would never change back.
The truth is when these folks protested at Stonewall 40 years ago no one could have imagined that you or, for that matter, I (laughter) would be standing here today. (Applause.) So we are all witnesses to monumental changes in this country. That should give us hope, but we cannot rest. We must continue to do our part to make progress step by step, law by law, mind by changing mind. And I want you to know that in this task I will not only be your friend, I will continue to be an ally and a champion and a President who fights with you and for you.
Thanks very much, everybody. God bless you. (Applause.) Thank you. Its a little stuffed in here. Were going to open we opened up that door. Were going to walk this way, and then were going to come around and well see some of you over there, all right? (Laughter.) But out there. (Laughter.)
But thank you very much, all, for being here. Enjoy the White House. Thank you. (Applause.)
END 4:53 P.M. EDT
Camille Paglia on hate crimes legislation:
As a libertarian, I must also express my opposition yet again to hate crimes legislation, which is not progressive but authoritarian. The government should enforce and even reduce existent laws, not pile on more and more regulation and surveillance, which increase the size and intrusiveness of the state. Hate crimes bills formalize ideological inquiries into motive that smack of the totalitarian thought police. In a democracy, government has no business singling out one or several groups as more worthy of protection than any other individual or group. Justice should be blind.
Nuff said! Game, set & match.