Skip to comments.Remarks by the President on the National HIV/AIDS Strategy
Posted on 07/14/2010 6:45:21 PM PDT by Cindy
NOTE The following text is a quote:
Home Briefing Room Speeches & Remarks
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release July 13, 2010
Remarks by the President on the National HIV/AIDS Strategy
6:10 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody! Hello! (Applause.) Hello. Hello, hello, hello. Hello. Well, good evening, everybody. This is a pretty feisty group here. (Laughter.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you, President!
THE PRESIDENT: Love you back. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you. Well, it is a privilege to speak with all of you. Welcome to the White House.
Let me begin by welcoming the Cabinet Secretaries who are here. I know I saw at least one of them, Kathleen Sebelius, our outstanding Secretary of Health and Human Services. (Applause.) I want to thank all the members of Congress who are present and all the distinguished guests that are here -- that includes all of you.
In particular, I want to recognize Ambassador Eric Goosby, our Global AIDS Coordinator. (Applause.) Erics leadership of the Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief is doing so much to save so many lives around the world. He will be leading our delegation to the International AIDS Conference in Vienna next week. And so Im grateful for his outstanding service. (Applause.)
And I want to also thank the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. (Applause.) Thank you -- and the Federal HIV Interagency Working Group for all the work that they are doing. So thank you very much. (Applause.)
Now, its been nearly 30 years since a CDC publication called Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report first documented five cases of an illness that would come to be known as HIV/AIDS. In the beginning, of course, it was known as the gay disease - a disease surrounded by fear and misunderstanding; a disease we were too slow to confront and too slow to turn back. In the decades since - as epidemics have emerged in countries throughout Africa and around the globe - weve grown better equipped, as individuals and as nations, to fight this disease.
From activists, researchers, community leaders whove waged a battle against AIDS for so long, including many of you here in this room, we have learned what we can do to stop the spread of the disease. Weve learned what we can do to extend the lives of people living with it. And weve been reminded of our obligations to one another - obligations that, like the virus itself, transcend barriers of race or station or sexual orientation or faith or nationality.
So the question is not whether we know what to do, but whether we will do it. (Applause.) Whether we will fulfill those obligations; whether we will marshal our resources and the political will to confront a tragedy that is preventable.
All of us are here because we are committed to that cause. Were here because we believe that while HIV transmission rates in this country are not as high as they once were, every new case is one case too many. Were here because we believe in an America where those living with HIV/AIDS are not viewed with suspicion, but treated with respect; where theyre provided the medications and health care they need; where they can live out their lives as fully as their health allows.
And were here because of the extraordinary men and women whose stories compel us to stop this scourge. Im going to call out a few people here -- people like Benjamin Banks, who right now is completing a masters degree in public health, planning a family with his wife, and deciding whether to run another half-marathon. Ben has also been HIV-positive for 29 years - a virus he contracted during cancer surgery as a child. So inspiring others to fight the disease has become his mission.
Were here because of people like Craig Washington, who after seeing what was happening in his community - friends passing away; life stories sanitized, as he put it, at funerals; homophobia, all the discrimination that surrounded the disease - Craig got tested, disclosed his status, with the support of his partner and his family, and took up the movement for prevention and awareness in which he is a leader today.
Were here because of people like Linda Scruggs. (Applause.) Linda learned she was HIV-positive about two decades ago when she went in for prenatal care. Then and there, she decided to turn her life around, and she left a life of substance abuse behind, she became an advocate for women, she empowered them to break free from what she calls the bondage of secrecy. She inspired her son, who was born healthy, to become an AIDS activist himself.
Were here because of Linda and Craig and Ben, and because of over 1 million Americans living with HIV/AIDS and the nearly 600,000 Americans whove lost their lives to the disease. Its on their behalf - and on the behalf of all Americans - that we began a national dialogue about combating AIDS at the beginning of this administration.
In recent months, weve held 14 community discussions. Weve spoken with over 4,200 people. Weve received over 1,000 recommendations on the White House website, devising an approach not from the top down but from the bottom up.
And today, were releasing our National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which is the product -- (applause) -- which is the product of these conversations, and conversations with HIV-positive Americans and health care providers, with business leaders, with faith leaders, and the best policy and scientific minds in our country.
Now, I know that this strategy comes at a difficult time for Americans living with HIV/AIDS, because weve got cash-strapped states who are being forced to cut back on essentials, including assistance for AIDS drugs. I know the need is great. And thats why weve increased federal assistance each year that Ive been in office, providing an emergency supplement this year to help people get the drugs they need, even as we pursue a national strategy that focuses on three central goals.
First goal: prevention. We cant afford to rely on any single prevention method alone, so our strategy promotes a comprehensive approach to reducing the number of new HIV infections - from expanded testing so people can learn their status, to education so people can curb risky behaviors, to drugs that can prevent a mother from transmitting a virus to her child.
To support our new direction, were investing $30 million in new money, and Ive committed to working with Congress to make sure these investments continue in the future.
The second --
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Mr. President --
THE PRESIDENT: Lets -- hold on -- you can talk to me after -- well be able to talk after I speak. Thats why I invited you here, right? So you dont have to yell, right? (Applause.) Thank you.
Second is treatment. To extend lives and stem transmission, we need to make sure every HIV-positive American gets the medical care that they need. (Applause.) And by stopping health insurers from denying coverage because of a preexisting condition and by creating a marketplace where people with HIV/AIDS can buy affordable care, the health insurance reforms I signed into law this year are an important step forward.
And well build on those reforms, while also understanding that when people have trouble putting food on the table or finding a place to live, its virtually impossible to keep them on lifesaving therapies. (Applause.)
Now, the third goal is reducing health disparities by combating the disease in communities where the need is greatest. (Applause.)
We all know the statistics. Gay and bisexual men make up a small percentage of the population, but over 50 percent of new infections. For African Americans, its 13 percent of the population -- nearly 50 percent of the people living with HIV/AIDS. HIV infection rates among black women are almost 20 times what they are for white women. So, such health disparities call on us to make a greater effort as a nation to offer testing and treatment to the people who need it the most. (Applause.)
So reducing new HIV infections; improving care for people living with HIV/AIDS; narrowing health disparities -- these are the central goals of our national strategy. They must be pursued hand in hand with our global public health strategy to roll back the pandemic beyond our borders. And they must be pursued by a government that is acting as one. So we need to make sure all our efforts are coordinated within the federal government and across federal, state and local governments - because thats how well achieve results that let Americans live longer and healthier lives. (Applause.)
So, yes, government has to do its part. But our ability to combat HIV/AIDS doesnt rest on government alone. It requires companies to contribute funding and expertise to the fight. It requires us to use every source of information - from TV to film to the Internet - to promote AIDS awareness. It requires community leaders to embrace all -- and not just some -- who are affected by the disease. It requires each of us to act responsibly in our own lives, and it requires all of us to look inward -- to ask not only how we can end this scourge, but also how we can root out the inequities and the attitudes on which this scourge thrives.
When a person living with HIV/AIDS is treated as if shes done something wrong, when shes viewed as being somehow morally compromised, how can we expect her to get tested and disclose her diagnosis to others? (Applause.)
When we fail to offer a child a proper education, when we fail to provide him with accurate medical information and instill within him a sense of responsibility, then how can we expect him to take the precautions necessary to protect himself and others? (Applause.)
When we continue, as a community of nations, to tolerate poverty and inequality and injustice in our midst, we dont stand up for how women are treated in certain countries, how can we expect to end the disease - a pandemic - that feeds on such conditions?
So fighting HIV/AIDS in America and around the world will require more than just fighting the virus. It will require a broader effort to make life more just and equitable for the people who inhabit this Earth. And thats a cause to which Ill be firmly committed so long as I have the privilege of serving as President.
So to all of you who have been out there in the field, working on this issues day in, day out, I know sometimes its thankless work. But the truth is, you are representing whats best in all of us -- our regard for one another, our willingness to care for one another. I thank you for that. Im grateful for you. Youre going to have a partner in me.
God bless you and God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
END 6:23 P.M. EDT
I really really wish they’d love him back in an intimate and unprotected manner.
"We all know the statistics. Gay and bisexual men make up a small percentage of the population, but over 50 percent of new infections. For African Americans, its 13 percent of the population -- nearly 50 percent of the people living with HIV/AIDS. HIV infection rates among black women are almost 20 times what they are for white women. So, such health disparities call on us to make a greater effort as a nation to offer testing and treatment to the people who need it the most."
NOTE The following text is a quote:
Home Briefing Room Presidential Actions Presidential Memoranda
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release July 13, 2010
Presidential Memorandum—Implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy
MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES
SUBJECT: Implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy
As we approach 30 years from the onset of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States, new actions are needed to prevent HIV infection and better serve people living with HIV. The actions we take now will build upon a legacy of global leadership, national commitment, and sustained efforts on the part of Americans from all parts of the country and all walks of life to end the HIV epidemic in the United States and around the world. I am committed to renewing national leadership to fight HIV/AIDS here at home, as we continue our efforts to fight HIV/AIDS around the world. My Administration has engaged in an extensive process to engage Americans and listen to their ideas for improving our national response to HIV/AIDS.
Today I am releasing a National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States (Strategy) and a National HIV/AIDS Strategy Federal Implementation Plan (Federal Implementation Plan), which identifies specific actions to be taken by Federal agencies to implement the Strategy’s goals. While agencies already undertake many actions to address HIV/AIDS, successful implementation of the Strategy will require new levels of coordination, collaboration, and accountability. This will require the Federal Government to work in new ways across agency lines, as well as in enhanced and innovative partnerships with State, tribal, and local governments. Government cooperation at all levels, moreover, is not enough. Success will require the commitment of all parts of society, including businesses, faith communities, philanthropic organizations, scientific and medical communities, educational institutions, people living with HIV, and others. It is also necessary to sustain public commitment to ending the epidemic, and this calls for regular communications between governments at all levels to identify the challenges we face and report the progress we are making. To these ends, I hereby direct the following:
Section 1. Role of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP).
(a) The Director of the ONAP, in consultation with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), shall be responsible for setting the Administration’s domestic HIV/AIDS priorities and monitoring the implementation of the Strategy. The Director of the ONAP shall convene regular meetings with representatives of executive departments and agencies (agencies) to coordinate HIV/AIDS-related policies, programs, and activities.
(b) The Director of the ONAP shall annually report to the President on the implementation of the Strategy, including progress in meeting key targets and taking key actions identified in the Strategy and the Federal Implementation Plan.
Sec. 2. Lead Responsible Agencies. While the Strategy requires a Government-wide effort in order to succeed fully, certain agencies have primary responsibilities and competencies in implementing the Strategy.
(a) Designation of Lead Agencies. Lead agencies for implementing the Strategy shall be:
(i) the Department of Health and Human Services;
(ii) the Department of Justice;
(iii) the Department of Labor;
(iv) the Department of Housing and Urban Development;
(v) the Department of Veterans Affairs; and
(vi) the Social Security Administration.
(b) Lead Agency Implementation Plans. Within 150 days of the date of this memorandum, the head of each lead agency shall submit a report to the ONAP and the OMB on the agency’s operational plans for implementing the Strategy. The plans shall assign responsibilities to agency officials, designate reporting structures for actions identified in the Federal Implementation Plan, and identify other appropriate actions to advance the Strategy. The plans shall also include steps to strengthen coordination in planning, budgeting for, and evaluating domestic HIV/AIDS programs within and across agencies. Lead agencies are encouraged to consider, and reflect in their plans, steps to streamline grantee reporting requirements and funding announcements related to HIV/AIDS programs and activities.
(c) Ongoing Responsibilities of Lead Agencies. The head of each lead agency shall:
(i) designate an official responsible for coordinating the agency’s ongoing efforts to implement the Strategy;
(ii) develop a process for sharing progress reports, including status updates on achieving specific quantitative targets established by the Strategy, with relevant agencies and the ONAP on an annual basis, or at such other times as the ONAP requests; and
(iii) in consultation with the OMB, use the budget development process to prioritize programs and activities most critical to meeting the goals of the Strategy.
Sec. 3. Role of the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The Secretary of Health and Human Services (Secretary), or the Secretarys designee, shall be responsible for improving coordination of domestic HIV/AIDS programs and activities across the Federal Government.
(a) Coordination within the Department of Health and Human Services. The Secretary, or the Secretary’s designee, shall develop and implement specific plans and procedures for improving intra-departmental coordination and collaboration on HIV/AIDS care, research, and prevention services.
(b) Coordination with Other Agencies. The Secretary, or the Secretary’s designee, shall be responsible for convening interagency efforts to improve coordination of HIV/AIDS programs and activities. This may include collaboration with governmental and nongovernmental entities to achieve the Federal Government’s implementation and research priorities in the areas of highest impact.
(c) Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA). PACHA, which was established by Executive Order 12963 of June 14, 1995 (Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS), as amended, shall monitor the implementation of the Strategy and make recommendations to the Secretary and to the Director of the ONAP, as appropriate, concerning implementation.
Sec. 4. Responsibilities of Other Agencies. All agencies that support HIV/AIDS programs and activities shall ensure that, to the extent permitted by law, they are meeting the goals of the Strategy.
(a) Department of Defense. Within 150 days of the date of this memorandum, the Secretary of Defense shall submit to the ONAP and the OMB a plan for aligning the health-care services provided by the Department of Defense with the Strategy, to the extent feasible and permitted by law. The plan shall address, in particular, HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment.
(b) Department of State. Within 150 days of the date of this memorandum, the Secretary of State shall submit to the ONAP and the OMB recommendations for improving the Government-wide response to the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic, based on lessons learned in implementing the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program.
(c) Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (Commission). Within 150 days of the date of this memorandum, the Chair of the Commission shall submit to the ONAP and the OMB recommendations for increasing employment opportunities for people living with HIV and a plan for addressing employment-related discrimination against people living with HIV, consistent with the Commission’s authorities and other applicable law.
Sec. 5. General Provisions.
(a) The heads of executive departments and agencies shall assist and provide information to the Director of the ONAP, consistent with applicable law, as may be necessary to implement the Strategy. Each agency shall bear its own expense for carrying out activities to implement the Strategy.
(b) Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) authority granted by law to a department or agency or the head thereof, or to other executive branch officials; or
(ii) functions of the Director of the OMB relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(c) This memorandum shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(d) This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
Sec. 6. Publication. The Secretary is authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.
Gee, apparently the new HIV/AIDS strategy includes educational modules in fisting for fifth graders, and basic introductions to homosexual sex for kindergartners (or is it first graders?).
Off Thread Topic...
LGBT Pride Reception
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Free Download whitehouse June 22, 2010 President Obama speaks at a White House reception marking LGBT Pride Month. June 22, 2010.
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LGBT pride pride month lesbian gay civil rights equality reception White House
NOTE: The following text is a quote:
Home Briefing Room Speeches & Remarks
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release June 22, 2010
Remarks by the President at LGBT Pride Month Reception
6:16 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, hello, hello! (Applause.) Hello, everybody! (Applause.) I was going to say welcome to the White House but you guys seem like you feel right at home. (Laughter.) You dont need me to tell you its the peoples house.
A couple of acknowledgements that I want to make very quickly first of all, our Director of the Office of Personnel Management, who has just done an extraordinary job across the government give John Berry a big round of applause. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER: All right, John!
THE PRESIDENT: All right, John! (Laughter.)
Our chair of the Export/Import Bank, helping to bring jobs here to the United States of America Fred Hochberg. (Applause.) Our chair of the Council on Environmental Quality, doing outstanding work each and every day Nancy Sutley. Where is she? (Applause.) Nancy is a little vertically challenged, but I see her over there. (Laughter.)
Weve got here a trailblazer for federal appointees we are so proud of her Ms. Roberta Achtenberg is here. Give Roberta a big round of applause. (Applause.) And then I understand weve got a terrific country singer Chely Wright is in the house. (Applause.)
In addition I know they had to leave because they had votes, but you guys obviously dont have just fiercer warriors on your behalf than a couple of our openly gay and lesbian members of Congress Tammy Baldwin and Jared Polis. (Applause.) They are openly terrific. (Laughter.) They do great work.
And it is also great to have so many activists and organizers from around the country folks who fight every day for the rights of parents and children and partners and citizens to be treated equally under the law. And so we are very proud of all of you. (Applause.)
Oh, and by the way, the guy standing next to me this is Joe Biden. (Applause.) Just because hes a Phillies fan hes from Delaware. (Laughter.)
Now, look, the fact that weve got activists here is important because its a reminder that change never comes or at least never begins in Washington. It begins with acts of compassion - and sometimes defiance - across America. It begins when ordinary people - out of love for a mother or a father, son or daughter, or husband or wife - speak out against injustices that have been accepted for too long. And it begins when these impositions of conscience start opening hearts that had been closed, and when we finally see each others humanity, whatever our differences.
Now, this struggle is as old as America itself. Its never been easy. But standing here, I am hopeful. One year ago, in this room, we marked the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall protests. (Applause.) Some of you were here, and you may remember that I pledged then that even at a time when we faced enormous challenges both on the economy and in our foreign policy, that we would not put aside matters of basic equality. And we havent.
Weve got a lot of hard work that we still have to do, but we can already point to extraordinary progress that weve made over the past year on behalf of Americans who are gay and lesbian, bisexual and transgender.
Just stay with me here for a second. Last year, I met with Judy Shepard, Matthew Shepards mom, and I promised her that after a decades-long struggle, we would pass inclusive hate crimes legislation. I promised that in the name of her son we would ensure that the full might of the law is brought down on those who would attack somebody just because they are gay. And less than six months later, with Judy by my side, we marked the enactment of the Matthew Shepard Act. Its now the law of the land. (Applause.)
Just a few moments ago, I met with Janice Langbehn and her children. Where did Janice go? There they are right there. And when Janices partner of 18 years, Lisa, suddenly collapsed because of an aneurysm, Janice and the couples three kids were denied the chance to comfort their partner and their mom barred from Lisas bedside. It was wrong. It was cruel. And in part because of their story, I instructed my Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, to make sure that any hospital thats participating in Medicare or Medicaid - that means most hospitals (laughter) allow gay and lesbian partners the same privileges and visitation rights as straight partners. (Applause.)
After I issued that memorandum, I called Janice and I told her the news. And before we came out here today, I wanted to make sure that I had followed up Secretary Sebelius will officially be proposing this regulation. And I can also announce that the Secretary has sent a letter today asking these hospitals to adopt these changes now - even before the rule takes effect. (Applause.) Nothing can undo the hurt that her that Janices family has experienced. And nothing can undo the pain felt by countless others whove been through a similar ordeal - for example, Charlene Strong is here. She lost her wife, Kate Fleming and Charlene is here along with Kates mom, who said on behalf of all mothers, thank you. Because we think its the right thing to do. (Applause.)
In addition, Ive issued an executive order[SIC]* to extend as many partnership benefits to gay and lesbian federal employees as possible under current law. And Im going to continue to fight to change the law: to guarantee gay federal employees the exact same benefits as straight employees - including access to health insurance and retirement plans. (Applause.) And in an announcement today, the Department of Labor made clear that under the Family and Medical Leave Act, same-sex couples - as well as others raising children - are to be treated like the caretakers that they are. (Applause.)
Because I believe in committed I believe that committed gay and lesbian couples deserve the same rights and responsibilities afforded to any married couple in this country, I have called for Congress to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. (Applause.) We are pushing hard to pass an inclusive employee non-discrimination bill. (Applause.) No one in America should be fired because theyre gay. Its not right, its not who we are as Americans, and we are going to put a stop to it.
And finally, were going to end Dont Ask, Dont Tell. (Applause.) That is a promise I made as a candidate. It is a promise that I reiterated as President. Its one that this administration is going to keep. Now, the only way to lock this in - the only way to get the votes in Congress to roll back this policy is if we work with the Pentagon, who are in the midst of two wars.
And thats why we were gratified to see, for the first time ever, the Secretary of Defense, Bob Gates, testify in favor of repeal. And the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mike Mullen, has repeatedly and passionately argued for allowing gay men and women to serve honestly in the military. (Applause.) We know that forcing gay and lesbian soldiers to live a lie or to leave the military, that doesnt contribute to our security it harms our security.
And thanks to Patrick Murphy and others, for the first time in history, the House has passed a repeal that would allow gay men and women to openly serve in our armed forces. And this repeal is authored so that the Pentagon can complete its review of the policy which is critical, by the way, not only to passage, but its also critical to making sure that the change is accepted and implemented effectively. In the Senate, the Armed Services Committee has approved repeal for the first time, and the full body is poised to vote soon.
So heres the bottom line: We have never been closer to ending this discriminatory policy. And Im going to keep on fighting until that bill is on my desk and I can sign it. (Applause.)
Of course, ultimately, change is about more than just policies in our government. And thats why I want to close by recognizing all the young people who are here - I had a chance to take a bunch of pictures with them, just really impressive folks who are advocating on their behalf. I know there are some in the audience who have experienced pain in their lives, who at times have been felt like outcasts, who have been scorned or bullied, and I know that there are families here on behalf of loved ones who are no longer with us, some in part because of the particularly difficult challenges that gay men and women still face.
This is a reminder that we all have an obligation to ensure that no young person is ever made to feel worthless or alone ever. Now, at the same time, I think theres plenty of reason to have some hope for many of the young people including those who are here today. Theyve shown incredible courage and incredible integrity standing up for who they are. Theyve refused to be anything less than themselves.
And we all remember being young sort of. (Laughter.) But its not easy. Its not easy standing up all the time and being who you are. But theyre showing us the way forward. These young people are helping to build a more perfect union, a nation where all of us are equal; each of us is free to pursue our own versions of happiness.
And I believe because of them that the future is bright. Its certainly bright for them. Of course, it does depend on all of us. It depends on the efforts of government and the activism of ordinary citizens like yourselves. It depends on the love of families and the support of communities. And I want you all to know that as this work continues, Im going to be standing shoulder-to-shoulder with you, fighting by your side every step of the way. (Applause.)
So, thank you. God bless you. God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
END 6:29 P.M. EDT
*Clarification: The President signed a Presidential Memorandum on June 2, to extend benefits to same-sex domestic partners of federal employees. Click HERE to view the memo on whitehouse.gov.
NOTE The following text is a quote:
Home Briefing Room Presidential Actions Presidential Memoranda
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release June 02, 2010
Presidential Memorandum-Extension of Benefits to Same-Sex Domestic Partners of Federal Employees
MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES
SUBJECT: Extension of Benefits to Same-Sex Domestic Partners of Federal Employees
For far too long, many of our Governments hard-working, dedicated LGBT employees have been denied equal access to the basic rights and benefits their colleagues enjoy. This kind of systemic inequality undermines the health, well-being, and security not just of our Federal workforce, but also of their families and communities. That is why, last June, I directed the heads of executive departments and agencies (agencies), in consultation with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), to conduct a thorough review of the benefits they provide and to identify any that could be extended to LGBT employees and their partners and families. Although legislative action is necessary to provide full equality to LGBT Federal employees, the agencies have identified a number of benefits that can be extended under existing law. OPM, in consultation with the Department of Justice, has provided me with a report recommending that all of the identified benefits be extended.
Accordingly, I hereby direct the following:
Section 1. Immediate Actions To Extend Benefits. Agencies should immediately take the following actions, consistent with existing law, in order to extend benefits to the same-sex domestic partners of Federal employees, and, where applicable, to the children of same-sex domestic partners of Federal employees:
(a) The Director of OPM should take appropriate action to:
(i) clarify that the children of employeessame-sex domestic partners fall within the definition of child for purposes of Federal child-care subsidies, and, where appropriate, for child-care services;
(ii) clarify that, for purposes of employee assistance programs, same-sex domestic partners and their children qualify as family members;
(iii) issue a proposed rule that would clarify that employees same-sex domestic partners qualify as family members for purposes of noncompetitive appointments made pursuant to Executive Order 12721 of July 30, 1990;
(iv) issue a proposed rule that would add a Federal retirees same-sex domestic partner to the list of individuals presumed to have an insurable interest in the employee pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 8339(k)(1), 8420;
(v) clarify that under appropriate circumstances, employees same-sex domestic partners and their children qualify as dependents for purposes of evacuation payments made under 5 U.S.C. 5522-5523;
(vi) amend its guidance on implementing President Clintons April 11, 1997, memorandum to heads of executive departments and agencies on Expanded Family and Medical Leave Policies to specify that the 24 hours of unpaid leave made available to Federal employees in connection with (i) school and early childhood educational activities; (ii) routine family medical purposes; and (iii) elderly relatives health or care needs, may be used to meet the needs of an employees same-sex domestic partner or the same-sex domestic partners children; and
(vii) clarify that employees same-sex domestic partners qualify as dependents for purposes of calculating the extra allowance payable under 5 U.S.C. 5942a to assist employees stationed on Johnston Island, subject to any limitations applicable to spouses.
(b) The Administrator of General Services should take appropriate action to amend the definitions of immediate family and dependent appearing in the Federal Travel Regulations, 41 C.F.R. Chs. 300-304, to include same-sex domestic partners and their children, so that employees and their domestic partners and children can obtain the full benefits available under applicable law, including certain travel, relocation, and subsistence payments.
(c) All agencies offering any of the benefits specified by OPM in implementing guidance under section 3 of this memorandum, including credit union membership, access to fitness facilities, and access to planning and counseling services, should take all appropriate action to provide the same level of benefits that is provided to employees spouses and their children to employees same-sex domestic partners and their children.
(d) All agencies with authority to provide benefits to employees outside of the context of title 5, United States Code should take all appropriate actions to ensure that the benefits being provided to employees spouses and their children are also being provided, at an equivalent level wherever permitted by law, to their employees same-sex domestic partners and their children.
Sec. 2. Continuing Obligation To Provide New Benefits. In the future, all agencies that provide new benefits to the spouses of Federal employees and their children should, to the extent permitted by law, also provide them to the same-sex domestic partners of their employees and those same-sex domestic partners children. This section applies to appropriated and nonappropriated fund instrumentalities of such agencies.
Sec. 3. Monitoring and Guidance. The Director of OPM shall monitor compliance with this memorandum, and may instruct agencies to provide the Director with reports on the status of their compliance, and prescribe the form and manner of such reports. The Director of OPM shall also issue guidance to ensure consistent and appropriate implementation.
Sec. 4. Reporting. By April 1, 2011, and annually thereafter, the Director of OPM shall provide the President with a report on the progress of the agencies in implementing this memorandum until such time as all recommendations have been appropriately implemented.
Sec. 5. General Provisions. (a) Except as expresslystated herein, nothing in this memorandum shall be construedto impair or otherwise affect:
(i) authority granted by law or Executive Orderto an agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) functions of the Director of the Officeof Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This memorandum shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
Sec. 6. Publication. The Director of OPM is hereby authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.
National AIDS/HIV strategy is to commission the VA to infect veterans with it...
OFF Thread Topic...
Stepping back in time...
Note: The following text is a quote:
THE BRIEFING ROOM
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary __________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release October 10, 2009
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT AT HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN DINNER
Walter E. Convention Center Washington, D.C.
8:10 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, everybody. Please, youre making me blush. (Laughter.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you, Barack!
THE PRESIDENT: I love you back. (Applause.)
To Joe Solmonese, whos doing an outstanding job on behalf of HRC. (Applause.) To my great friend and supporter, Terry Bean, co-founder of HRC. (Applause.) Representative Patrick Kennedy. (Applause.) David Huebner, the Ambassador-designee to New Zealand and Samoa. (Applause.) John Berry, our Director of OPM, whos doing a great job. (Applause.) Nancy Sutley, Chairman of Council on Environmental Quality. (Applause.) Fred Hochberg, Chairman of Export-Import Bank. (Applause.) And my dear friend, Tipper Gore, whos in the house. (Applause.)
Thank you so much, all of you. It is a privilege to be here tonight to open for Lady GaGa. (Applause.) Ive made it. (Laughter.) I want to thank the Human Rights Campaign for inviting me to speak and for the work you do every day in pursuit of equality on behalf of the millions of people in this country who work hard in their jobs and care deeply about their families and who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. (Applause.)
For nearly 30 years, youve advocated on behalf of those without a voice. Thats not easy. For despite the real gains that weve made, theres still laws to change and theres still hearts to open. There are still fellow citizens, perhaps neighbors, even loved ones good and decent people who hold fast to outworn arguments and old attitudes; who fail to see your families like their families; who would deny you the rights most Americans take for granted. And thats painful and its heartbreaking. (Applause.) And yet you continue, leading by the force of the arguments you make, and by the power of the example that you set in your own lives as parents and friends, as PTA members and church members, as advocates and leaders in your communities. And youre making a difference.
Thats the story of the movement for fairness and equality, and not just for those who are gay, but for all those in our history whove been denied the rights and responsibilities of citizenship (applause) for all whove been told that the full blessings and opportunities of this country were closed to them. Its the story of progress sought by those with little influence or power; by men and women who brought about change through quiet, personal acts of compassion and defiance wherever and whenever they could.
Its the story of the Stonewall protests, when a group of citizens (applause) when a group of citizens with few options, and fewer supporters stood up against discrimination and helped to inspire a movement. 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; who continue to fight this scourge; and who have demonstrated before the world that different kinds of families can show the same compassion in a time of need. (Applause.) And its the story of the Human Rights Campaign and the fights youve fought for nearly 30 years: helping to elect candidates who share your values; standing against those who would enshrine discrimination into our Constitution; advocating on behalf of those living with HIV/AIDS; and fighting for progress in our capital and across America. (Applause.)
This story, this fight continue now. And Im here with a simple message: Im here with you in that fight. (Applause.) For even as we face extraordinary challenges as a nation, we cannot and we will not put aside issues of basic equality. I greatly appreciate the support Ive received from many in this room. I also appreciate that many of you dont believe progress has come fast enough. I want to be honest about that, because its important to be honest among friends.
Now, Ive said this before, Ill repeat it again its not for me to tell you to be patient, any more than it was for others to counsel patience to African Americans petitioning for equal rights half a century ago. (Applause.) But I will say this: We have made progress and we will make more. And I think its important to remember that there is not a single issue that my administration deals with on a daily basis that does not touch on the lives of the LGBT community. (Applause.) We all have a stake in reviving this economy. We all have a stake in putting people back to work. We all have a stake in improving our schools and achieving quality, affordable health care. We all have a stake in meeting the difficult challenges we face in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Applause.)
For while some may wish to define you solely by your sexual orientation or gender identity alone, you know and I know that none of us wants to be defined by just one part of what makes us whole. (Applause.) Youre also parents worried about your childrens futures. Youre spouses who fear that you or the person you love will lose a job. Youre workers worried about the rising cost of health insurance. Youre soldiers. You are neighbors. You are friends. And, most importantly, you are Americans who care deeply about this country and its future. (Applause.)
So I know you want me working on jobs and the economy and all the other issues that were dealing with. But my commitment to you is unwavering even as we wrestle with these enormous problems. And while progress may be taking longer than youd like as a result of all that we face and thats the truth do not doubt the direction we are heading and the destination we will reach. (Applause.)
My expectation is that when you look back on these years, you will see a time in which we put a stop to discrimination against gays and lesbians whether in the office or on the battlefield. (Applause.) You will see a time in which we as a nation finally recognize relationships between two men or two women as just as real and admirable as relationships between a man and a woman. (Applause.) You will see a nation thats valuing and cherishing these families as we build a more perfect union a union in which gay Americans are an important part. I am committed to these goals. And my administration will continue fighting to achieve them.
And theres no more poignant or painful reminder of how important it is that we do so than the loss experienced by Dennis and Judy Shepard, whose son Matthew was stolen in a terrible act of violence 11 years ago. In May, I met with Judy whos here tonight with her husband I met her in the Oval Office, and I promised her that we were going to pass an inclusive hate crimes bill a bill named for her son. (Applause.)
This struggle has been long. Time and again we faced opposition. Time and again, the measure was defeated or delayed. But the Shepards never gave up. (Applause.) They turned tragedy into an unshakeable commitment. (Applause.) Countless activists and organizers never gave up. You held vigils, you spoke out, year after year, Congress after Congress. The House passed the bill again this week. (Applause.) And I can announce that after more than a decade, this bill is set to pass and I will sign it into law. (Applause.)
Its a testament to the decade-long struggle of Judy and Dennis, who tonight will receive a tribute named for somebody who inspired so many of us named for Senator Ted Kennedy, who fought tirelessly for this legislation. (Applause.) And its a testament to the Human Rights Campaign and those who organized and advocated. And its a testament to Matthew and to others whove been the victims of attacks not just meant to break bones, but to break spirits not meant just to inflict harm, but to instill fear. Together, we will have moved closer to that day when no one has to be afraid to be gay in America. (Applause.) When no one has to fear walking down the street holding the hand of the person they love. (Applause.)
But we know theres far more work to do. Were pushing hard to pass an inclusive employee non-discrimination bill. (Applause.) For the first time ever, an administration official testified in Congress in favor of this law. Nobody in America should be fired because theyre gay, despite doing a great job and meeting their responsibilities. Its not fair. Its not right. Were going to put a stop to it. (Applause.) And its for this reason that if any of my nominees are attacked not for what they believe but for who they are, I will not waver in my support, because I will not waver in my commitment to ending discrimination in all its forms. (Applause.)
We are reinvigorating our response to HIV/AIDS here at home and around the world. (Applause.) Were working closely with the Congress to renew the Ryan White program and I look forward to signing it into law in the very near future. (Applause.) We are rescinding the discriminatory ban on entry to the United States based on HIV status. (Applause.) The regulatory process to enact this important change is already underway. And we also know that HIV/AIDS continues to be a public health threat in many communities, including right here in the District of Columbia. Jeffrey Crowley, the Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy, recently held a forum in Washington, D.C., and is holding forums across the country, to seek input as we craft a national strategy to address this crisis.
We are moving ahead on Dont Ask Dont Tell. (Applause.) We should not be punishing patriotic Americans who have stepped forward to serve this country. We should be celebrating their willingness to show such courage and selflessness on behalf of their fellow citizens, especially when were fighting two wars. (Applause.)
We cannot afford to cut from our ranks people with the critical skills we need to fight any more than we can afford for our militarys integrity to force those willing to do so into careers encumbered and compromised by having to live a lie. So Im working with the Pentagon, its leadership, and the members of the House and Senate on ending this policy. Legislation has been introduced in the House to make this happen. I will end Dont Ask, Dont Tell. Thats my commitment to you. (Applause.)
It is no secret that issues of great concern to gays and lesbians are ones that raise a great deal of emotion in this country. And its no secret that progress has been incredibly difficult we can see that with the time and dedication it took to pass hate crimes legislation. But these issues also go to the heart of who we are as a people. Are we a nation that can transcend old attitudes and worn divides? Can we embrace our differences and look to the hopes and dreams that we share? Will we uphold the ideals on which this nation was founded: that all of us are equal, that all of us deserve the same opportunity to live our lives freely and pursue our chance at happiness? I believe we can; I believe we will. (Applause.)
And that is why thats why I support ensuring that committed gay couples have the same rights and responsibilities afforded to any married couple in this country. (Applause.) I believe strongly in stopping laws designed to take rights away and passing laws that extend equal rights to gay couples. Ive required all agencies in the federal government to extend as many federal benefits as possible to LGBT families as the current law allows. And Ive called on Congress to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and to pass the Domestic Partners Benefits and Obligations Act. (Applause.) And we must all stand together against divisive and deceptive efforts to feed peoples lingering fears for political and ideological gain.
For the struggle waged by the Human Rights Campaign is about more than any policy we can enshrine into law. Its about our capacity to love and commit to one another. Its about whether or not we value as a society that love and commitment. Its about our common humanity and our willingness to walk in someone elses shoes: to imagine losing a job not because of your performance at work but because of your relationship at home; to imagine worrying about a spouse in the hospital, with the added fear that youll have to produce a legal document just to comfort the person you love (applause) to imagine the pain of losing a partner of decades and then discovering that the law treats you like a stranger. (Applause.)
If we are honest with ourselves well admit that there are too many who do not yet know in their lives or feel in their hearts the urgency of this struggle. Thats why I continue to speak about the importance of equality for LGBT families and not just in front of gay audiences. Thats why Michelle and I have invited LGBT families to the White House to participate in events like the Easter Egg Roll because we want to send a message. (Applause.) And thats why its so important that you continue to speak out, that you continue to set an example, that you continue to pressure leaders including me and to make the case all across America. (Applause.)
So, tonight Im hopeful because of the activism I see in this room, because of the compassion Ive seen all across America, and because of the progress we have made throughout our history, including the history of the movement for LGBT equality.
Soon after the protests at Stonewall 40 years ago, the phone rang in the home of a soft-spoken elementary school teacher named Jeanne Manford. It was 1:00 in the morning, and it was the police. Now, her son, Morty, had been at the Stonewall the night of the raids. Ever since, he had felt within him a new sense of purpose. So when the officer told Jeanne that her son had been arrested, which was happening often to gay protesters, she was not entirely caught off guard. And then the officer added one more thing, And you know, hes homosexual. (Laughter.) Well, that police officer sure was surprised when Jeanne responded, Yes, I know. Why are you bothering him? (Applause.)
And not long after, Jeanne would be marching side-by-side with her son through the streets of New York. She carried a sign that stated her support. People cheered. Young men and women ran up to her, kissed her, and asked her to talk to their parents. And this gave Jeanne and Morty an idea.
And so, after that march on the anniversary of the Stonewall protests, amidst the violence and the vitriol of a difficult time for our nation, Jeanne and her husband Jules two parents who loved their son deeply formed a group to support other parents and, in turn, to support their children, as well. At the first meeting Jeanne held, in 1973, about 20 people showed up. But slowly, interest grew. Mortys life, tragically, was cut short by AIDS. But the cause endured. Today, the organization they founded for parents, families, and friends of lesbians and gays (applause) has more than 200,000 members and supporters, and has made a difference for countless families across America. And Jeanne would later say, I considered myself such a traditional person. I didnt even cross the street against the light. (Laughter.) But I wasnt going to let anybody walk over Morty. (Applause.)
Thats the story of America: of ordinary citizens organizing, agitating and advocating for change; of hope stronger than hate; of love more powerful than any insult or injury; of Americans fighting to build for themselves and their families a nation in which no one is a second-class citizen, in which no one is denied their basic rights, in which all of us are free to live and love as we see fit. (Applause.)
Tonight, somewhere in America, a young person, lets say a young man, will struggle to fall to sleep, wrestling alone with a secret hes held as long as he can remember. Soon, perhaps, he will decide its time to let that secret out. What happens next depends on him, his family, as well as his friends and his teachers and his community. But it also depends on us on the kind of society we engender, the kind of future we build.
I believe the future is bright for that young person. For while there will be setbacks and bumps along the road, the truth is that our common ideals are a force far stronger than any division that some might sow. These ideals, when voiced by generations of citizens, are what made it possible for me to stand here today. (Applause.) These ideals are what made it possible for the people in this room to live freely and openly when for most of history that would have been inconceivable. Thats the promise of America, HRC. Thats the promise were called to fulfill. (Applause.) Day by day, law by law, changing mind by mind, that is the promise we are fulfilling.
Thank you for the work youre doing. God bless you. God bless America. (Applause.)
END 8:35 P.M. EDT
"Tonight, somewhere in America, a young person, lets say a young man, will struggle to fall to sleep, wrestling alone with a secret hes held as long as he can remember. Soon, perhaps, he will decide its time to let that secret out. What happens next depends on him..."
Wow. Just wow. Here is a strategy: Only have sex with your monogamous wife/husband. Now, let’s see how many nick names we can come up with for condoms! Seriously, is it really that hard (no pun intended) to prevent HIV/AIDS?