Last week, Obama received the endorsement of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest and most successful advocates for LGBT equality. (See Deaniac’s post on the subject — “ZOMG! ‘Homophobic Black President’ Gets Big Gay Endorsement!” over at The People’s View.)
President of the Human Rights Campaign, Joe Solmonese, had this to say:
President Obama has improved the lives of LGBT Americans more than any President in history. In 2008 we were promised change and profound change is what we got. More remains to be done and ensuring that President Obama is able to continue the forward momentum toward equality for another term is an absolute priority of the Human Rights Campaign.
Today, Obama announced that June 2011 will be Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month:
The story of America’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community is the story of our fathers and sons, our mothers and daughters, and our friends and neighbors who continue the task of making our country a more perfect Union. It is a story about the struggle to realize the great American promise that all people can live with dignity and fairness under the law. Each June, we commemorate the courageous individuals who have fought to achieve this promise for LGBT Americans, and we rededicate ourselves to the pursuit of equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Since taking office, my Administration has made significant progress towards achieving equality for LGBT Americans. Last December, I was proud to sign the repeal of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. With this repeal, gay and lesbian Americans will be able to serve openly in our Armed Forces for the first time in our Nation’s history. Our national security will be strengthened and the heroic contributions these Americans make to our military, and have made throughout our history, will be fully recognized.
My Administration has also taken steps to eliminate discrimination against LGBT Americans in Federal housing programs and to give LGBT Americans the right to visit their loved ones in the hospital. We have made clear through executive branch nondiscrimination policies that discrimination on the basis of gender identity in the Federal workplace will not be tolerated. I have continued to nominate and appoint highly qualified, openly LGBT individuals to executive branch and judicial positions. Because we recognize that LGBT rights are human rights, my Administration stands with advocates of equality around the world in leading the fight against pernicious laws targeting LGBT persons and malicious attempts to exclude LGBT organizations from full participation in the international system. We led a global campaign to ensure “sexual orientation” was included in the United Nations resolution on extrajudicial execution — the only United Nations resolution that specifically mentions LGBT people — to send the unequivocal message that no matter where it occurs, state-sanctioned killing of gays and lesbians is indefensible. No one should be harmed because of who they are or who they love, and my Administration has mobilized unprecedented public commitments from countries around the world to join in the fight against hate and homophobia.
At home, we are working to address and eliminate violence against LGBT individuals through our enforcement and implementation of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. We are also working to reduce the threat of bullying against young people, including LGBT youth. My Administration is actively engaged with educators and community leaders across America to reduce violence and discrimination in schools. To help dispel the myth that bullying is a harmless or inevitable part of growing up, the First Lady and I hosted the first White House Conference on Bullying Prevention in March. Many senior Administration officials have also joined me in reaching out to LGBT youth who have been bullied by recording “It Gets Better” video messages to assure them they are not alone.
This month also marks the 30th anniversary of the emergence of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which has had a profound impact on the LGBT community. Though we have made strides in combating this devastating disease, more work remains to be done, and I am committed to expanding access to HIV/AIDS prevention and care. Last year, I announced the first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States. This strategy focuses on combinations of evidence-based approaches to decrease new HIV infections in high risk communities, improve care for people living with HIV/AIDS, and reduce health disparities. My Administration also increased domestic HIV/AIDS funding to support the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program and HIV prevention, and to invest in HIV/AIDS-related research. However, government cannot take on this disease alone. This landmark anniversary is an opportunity for the LGBT community and allies to recommit to raising awareness about HIV/AIDS and continuing the fight against this deadly pandemic.
Every generation of Americans has brought our Nation closer to fulfilling its promise of equality. While progress has taken time, our achievements in advancing the rights of LGBT Americans remind us that history is on our side, and that the American people will never stop striving toward 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 2011 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. 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.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.
Good news for the LGBTQ community — at least I think so. I know there are those who will think that this is more lofty rhetoric from a do-nothing president; and if I ask, “How many LGBTQ pride proclamations will be forthcoming under President T-Paw?” I’ll be shouted down by those people, but whatevs.
He got DADT done didn’t? He’s no longer defending DOMA isn’t he? He did all this stuff —
1) Extended benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees
2) Signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act
3) Instructed HHS to require any hospital receiving Medicare or Medicaid funds (virtually all hospitals) to allow LGBT visitation rights.
4) Banned job discrimination based on gender identity throughout the Federal government (the nation’s largest employer)
5) Signed the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act
6) Extended the Family and Medical Leave Act to cover Gay employees taking unpaid leave to care for their children of same-sex partners
7) Lifted the HIV Entry Ban.
8) Implemented HUD Policies that Would Ban Discrimination Based On Gender Identity
9) Appointed the first ever transgender DNC member
10) Named open transgender appointees (the first President ever to do so)
11) Eliminated the discriminatory Census Bureau policy that kept LGBT relationships from being counted
12) Extended domestic violence protections to LGBT victims
(read the rest of TiMT’s post “DADT to DOMA Obama-‘Breathtaking’, ‘A Monumental Series of Achievements On LBGTQ Rights'” over at The People’s View.)
— didn’t he?
Yes. He did.
It makes one want to yell at the Log Cabin Republicans, who recently announced that they are hell-bent on ousting Obama (to what end, who knows): What’s your major malfunction?!
[F]or some, clinging to “Obama-is-teh-evil” is more important than actually looking what the President was able to do over, as Solmonese points out, relentless and unified opposition from Republicans. The Republican alternative for gay Americans? They would keep DADT in place, refuse to recognize anti-gay and anti-transgender violence in the nation’s hate crimes laws, and yes, would send gay Americans to jail if they could. They would push to write discrimination into the Constitution, as they have in many state constitutions.
And, as a Facebook pal hilariously notes:
You are now officially as good as black people.
* smiles up at the ghost of Sean Penn in Heaven *
1 Obama has issued a similar proclamation during each year of his presidency. Clinton issued one in 1999. And Bush issued — hahahaha. No he didn’t.
[via The White House][cross-posted]