Barack Obama | Gay Pride | Gay Rights | News

President Obama Issues LGBT Pride Month Proclamation

President Obama issued the following LGBT Pride Month proclamation late this afternoon on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Stonewall:

***
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION

Obama 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.

BARACK OBAMA

***

NOTE: Commenters point out that President Bill Clinton nominated San Francisco Board of Supervisors Member Roberta Achtenberg, to be Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity in February 1993. Achtenberg won confirmation three months later in May after a vicious battle with the late Senator Jesse Helms, who called Achtenberg a "damn lesbian" and said "I'm not going to put a lesbian in a position like that. If you want to call me a bigot, fine."

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Comments

  1. Fuck..I misspelled Cheney

    Posted by: Jim Watson | Jun 1, 2009 8:36:21 PM


  2. This proclamation only serves Obama. LGBT community still gets nothing.

    Posted by: Greg Brunton | Jun 1, 2009 8:37:18 PM


  3. Patronizing.

    Posted by: wisebear | Jun 1, 2009 8:51:08 PM


  4. I wish this more to me - or anyone - than it does. He's behind the times, and over cautious, and this is really underwhelming.

    The tribe have spoken, I believe.

    Posted by: elcamino | Jun 1, 2009 9:06:08 PM


  5. Don't be so pessimistic... he's recommitting to these issues *after* he was elected and *after* he's gotten our money for his campaign.

    I don't like his plan or his (lack of) speed, but this is a good sign. Don't treat it like it's meaningless.

    We need to PUBLICIZE this. Hold his feet to the fire. If you work in major news media, work to get this story picked up.

    Posted by: james | Jun 1, 2009 9:06:54 PM


  6. I was happy when I saw the article, but after reading it...grrr:(

    Posted by: SSD | Jun 1, 2009 9:16:19 PM


  7. Hey, Mr. Prez, thanks for the proc, doc. Now try printing it up on some rolls of official White House toilet paper so I can put it to good use.

    Posted by: Nikki | Jun 1, 2009 9:24:44 PM


  8. 1) we should always keep pushing for our rights, like everyone else has in these last 200-odd years

    and 2) It's been 5 months and I really wonder if half the work on the economy, and his behind the scenes talks to allies to erase DADT which he outright spoke about, would be blocked.

    It's a sad game but it's the reality - Republicans are looking for anything to take him down for a myriad of reasons. Strategically, he has to have fail-proff numbers and a public mandate to do anything - something he also outright said back on the LOGO debate (instead of the bullshit lip service of one Ms. Clinton). I think he almost has it.

    I am pissed that he backed into civil unions, after he fought for marriage equality in IL, but I get the game.

    We're going to stay fired up and the biggest gift Obama ever gave was the idea that you can change politics if you organize and we are. I think some of you are acting like he's trying to block gay rights and that some your own baggage and misunderstanding imho.

    Even as some of you start squawking about his claim on the first openly gay appt in 100 days, you were ready to act like he's a liar; and you had to back track on that cuz he was technically therefore actually telling the truth. He's a lawyer, not a liar and he's definitely going to finesse words like we all do to get our point in how we want it and to our greatest benefit.

    I say, stop acting like this man is TD Jakes or Jesse Helms and keep pushing - some of you act like you're hurting him when you should be pushing for our rights cuz they're OUR rights :)

    Posted by: Sense Please | Jun 1, 2009 9:32:04 PM


  9. 1. Obama's allergy to the word "gay" is bizarre and unsettling. Can Anna Marie Cox please ask Robert Gibbs about this (because that appears to be the closest we get to actual press access on LGBT issues)?

    2. I am heartened and hopeful that Obama may be looking at federal civil unions as a reasonable longterm goal. I think the fact that there will be dissonance between the gay community's need for full marriage equality and that position increases the likelihood that centrist Obama will find it attractive.

    3. I am bothered, Michael, et. al., by Obama's willingness to congratulate himself on LGBT appointments, because that is the only place where he has truly disappointed me. I am furious that this supposed believer in diversity did not think that the fact that there has never been an open LGBT cabinet member was significant enough that it merited his making a truly historic appointment. It's Obama's fault, not Leland's, that his claim to progress is meaningless clockwatching.

    I really thought he at least wanted to listen to our voices. I did not expect him to do what we want: I hoped, though, that he would engage in conversation with us.

    He has not done that on any meaningful level, and the gay and lesbian people in his administration are not in positions where they are able to speak for us.

    Posted by: Landon Bryce | Jun 1, 2009 9:41:29 PM


  10. Thank you Sense Please!

    Posted by: Salome | Jun 1, 2009 9:45:07 PM


  11. Landon Bryce, Obama said gay in his Democratic Convention speech, his election night speech when the world was watching and at other times. I don't think he is afraid to say teh word gay so of all the things that you can complain about that is not one of them.

    Posted by: DJ | Jun 1, 2009 9:50:04 PM


  12. Please note the qualifier "existing" before "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Given the Obama administration's previous attempts to squirm away from the promise of an outright repeal of DADT, I think the word "existing" is another attempt to move from "repeal" to "change."

    Posted by: Dennis | Jun 1, 2009 9:51:08 PM


  13. Sense, please, if you're pointing at me, I was careful NOT to use the word liar [EVEN THO he did once lie about his gay rights record in Illinois, and about passing a nuke industry bill that actually died in committee], and promptly corrected what I'd thought to be a careless mistake on their part the moment I discovered my error.

    But, before anyone pours another pitcher of
    Kool Aid, let's look at the REAL difference between 1993 and today:

    Achtenberg's confirmation was, as I stated, held up by actions led by the ruthless Jesse Helms, one of many homohating bombs he threw during his long career.

    And if he were STILL ALIVE and in Congress, he would have held up Berry's confirmation, too. Instead, Berry's confirmation hearing was a virtual luv fest, so Obama can hardly take bows for beating an enemy that never showed up.

    In fact, I can think of only one person OBAMA faces in Congress who suggests any degree of homophobia AND has much clout as Helms did, and he's in the House.

    Obama has no Helms, no Nunn, neither Dole, no Dick "Barney Fag" Armey, no Barr, no Dornan, no Thurmond, no Lott, no Delay and yet he is STILL sitting on his hands mouthing pretty WORDS, or should I say merely lipsyching most of the same pretty WORDS he used in his 2008 pride statement.

    Yes, there are other homophobes left in Congress, but only Ike Skelton who currently opposes DADT repeal comes close to the clout Helms and all those above had via their seniority, so WHAT'S HIS FUCKING EXCUSE for having done NOTHING of any substance to fight for his gay-related federal legislation promises?

    In addition, on June 1, SIXTEEN YEARS LATER, the support among voters for gay rights has radically increased since 1993.

    And NOTHING, including Berry's sweet ride through confirmation, excuses Obama's refusal to use his Congressionally mandated power to freeze ANY discharges he wants to NOR his commitment to DEFEND DADT IN COURT.

    When the ONLY act of any substance he can be "proud of" so far is putting Berry on his payroll....which, in addition to doing NOTHING for gays in the military or military gays in court, does NOTHING for domestic gay couples, does nothing for gay couples in which one partner is foreign born, does NOTHING for gays being fired in the states, does NOTHING to stop hate crimes....how pathetic is that?

    Posted by: Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com | Jun 1, 2009 9:56:36 PM


  14. DJ:

    You are right. He seems to be comfortable with "gay" in speeches but not in documents. It's obviously strategic, but still weird.

    Posted by: Landon Bryce | Jun 1, 2009 10:07:15 PM


  15. Maybe I should react the way he did when he saw us in a big group of American and Rainbow flags along with many posters when he was out here last week at the Beverly Hills hotel:

    "Oh, I see President Obama signed something proclaiming something about something. I have no idea what he is proclaiming. And yada, yada, yada ... "

    Maybe after he DOES something I can jump up and down. Now all his proclamation does is spill out meaningless words.

    Until he does something for ALL Americans now, including the GLBT community, I'm keep my $$$ money donations and time to myself.

    Next!

    Posted by: FunMe | Jun 1, 2009 10:07:20 PM


  16. blah blah fucking blah! Obama's got a lot of bark, doesn't he? Let's see if he can back it up with some bite...

    Posted by: liminalsun | Jun 1, 2009 10:08:44 PM


  17. Thank you Mr. President

    Posted by: Dan Valdes | Jun 1, 2009 10:23:28 PM


  18. so JUNE is OUR Month now?!

    Posted by: banshiii | Jun 1, 2009 10:41:58 PM


  19. Ok, as a Canadian, I will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada as well as Stonewall. I live in a country where my husband and I share all the same marriage rights as every other married couple both provincially and federally. However, I haven't heard a whisper from either our Prime Minister, Harper or the Liberal Leader, Ignatieff about marking the anniversary of the beginning of the Gay rights movement.
    While Obama has been criticized about his lack of movement on DADT and eliminating the HIV travel restrictions among other things, at least he is giving the LGBT community attention from the highest office in the land.
    I feel the tide is changing in the US and although it's not my place to say; perhaps having all our wishes come true will take more that 100 days.

    Posted by: Ray | Jun 1, 2009 11:05:42 PM


  20. "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."

    It would be nice if those LGBT appointments had the same civil rights as the rest of your appointments. As president aren't you embarrassed that you have staff members that are treated as 2nd class citizens. As president don't you wish you knew someone who could lead the country on LGBT issues including marriage equality for all, repealing DOMA and Don't ask Don't Tell?

    Posted by: Bobo | Jun 1, 2009 11:23:25 PM


  21. Why is it that 3 months later I am still needing to say, "Great! Now when do I get equal rights?"

    Fuck you O! I don't want a proclamation if it isn't backed up with a spine. You won't make it to 2016 in the White House if I have anything to say about it.

    Posted by: Marc C | Jun 1, 2009 11:24:06 PM


  22. Thank you, Landon, for that reasoned deconstruction.

    We still disagree about the lack of other actions, but you are right on about appointments, given that it is 16 years after the first year of the president he is supposed to be so much better than.

    Some of the positions themselves might be higher than then, but are NOT proportionately higher to the span of time, but yet the list grows longer of those positions that some keep predicting he will fill with a gay person...Cabinet member [I could almost have believe that], Secretary of the Navy [when pigs fly], and Supreme Court Justice [when pigs, refrigerators, and aircraft carriers fly].

    But your ultimate point is one that I can't imagine anyone reasonable disagreeing with as it is the failure that, as cynical as I am, remains the greatest mystery to me because HE HAS NOTHING REALLY TO LOSE BY DOING IT.

    At the fundraiser in LA, or better still today, he could have taken a few minutes to SPEAK to LGBT equality ON CAMERA. It could have been nothing more than another Obama YouTube video and I would have applauded

    Yes, realists understand that ALL candidates much trim their sails a little once actually in office. But on gay issues, he's taken them down and put the boat in dry dock, and taken to hiding behind bumbling spokespeeps, many with their own ANTIgay agenda, and paper airplanes like this one.

    Forget sincerity, the hopeful could understandably have dined for months on the empty calories of promises recycled from his own lips.

    Satan, er Clinton, himself met with gay "leaders" in the White House less than three months after being sworn in, and even as his attempt to overturn the ban on gays in the military was beginning to burn up in the atmosphere of Washington, they left praising his name, thus undercutting the March on DC a month later.

    Why hasn't Obama done held such a meeting instead of stiffing Judy Shepard? Why had he chosen to create a vacuum in which their remains so little oxygen for hope for change?

    Posted by: Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com | Jun 1, 2009 11:28:35 PM


  23. AAAwwwww he issued a Proclamation....can I get married now?

    Posted by: X man | Jun 1, 2009 11:44:36 PM


  24. I can see the conversation in the White House now "Mr President' the natives are restless; that proclamation didnt Shut them Up"

    O: Dam I thought that would work and get these Queens off my back (No Pun intended)...well I guess I had better come up with something different than. I cant look to weak and live up to my promises your know. Im busy flip-flopping

    Posted by: X man | Jun 1, 2009 11:58:33 PM


  25. words, words, words.

    the democratic party has momentum, historic majorities, and an all but assured eight years. if not now, when will they grow a pair?

    these are words, polite, inoffensive words, he did mention federal law after civil union but he hasn't put his name on any order or bill.

    there's where words count.

    Posted by: FASTLAD | Jun 2, 2009 12:00:45 AM


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