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President Barack Obama declared June Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month in a proclamation released by the White House Friday and called on Americans to recommit themselves to finishing the work that remains for achieving full equality.
“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,” Obama stated. “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.”
Ticking off a number of victories for LGBT-rights, including victories for marriage equality at the Supreme Court last year, Obama noted that LGBT people still are not protected from discrimination in a number of states.
“My Administration proudly stands alongside all those who fight for LGBT rights. Here at home, we have strengthened laws against violence toward LGBT Americans, taken action to prevent bullying and harassment, and prohibited discrimination in housing and hospitals,” Obama stated. “Despite this progress, 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.”
Although Obama reiterated his support for ENDA, he made no mention of a long called for executive order he has refused to sign that would prohibit federal contractors from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Obama reaffirmed his commitment to addressing health disparities within the LGBT community and continuing to address HIV/AIDS. He also noted inequality abroad and issued a call to nations around the globe to join “in defending the universal human rights of our LGBT brothers and sisters.”
“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,” Obama continued. “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.”
According to a White House official, on June 30 Obama will continue the tradition of hosting a reception at the White House in celebration of LGBT Pride Month.