Attorney General Eric Holder Touts Hate Crimes Act in LGBT Pride Address to Justice Department


MONDAY, JUNE 21, 2010



Good morning. Thank you, Chris [Hook], for your kind words and for all the work that you, Marc [Salans], the Board of DOJ Pride and our EEO staff team have done in organizing today’s ceremony. It’s a pleasure to join Tom [Perez] in welcoming so many members of the Justice Department family, and so many distinguished guests, here today as we commemorate LGBT Pride Month. I’m glad that Senator [Amy] Klobuchar and Director [John] Clark are with us. And I want to congratulate Chris [Hook] and this year’s other award recipients, Councilmember [David] Catania and Attorney General [Doug] Gansler, on their achievements and contributions. I also want to thank our keynote speakers – Jenny Durkan, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington, and Sharon Lubinski, U.S. Marshal for the District of Minnesota – for sharing their thoughts and stories with us and for providing an example of service for us all.

We have much to celebrate today. In the year since we last gathered, our nation – and the Justice Department – have taken steps to address some of the unique challenges faced by members of our country’s LGBT community. As you all know, up until last fall, there was not a single line in the nearly 225-year history of the U.S. Code that referred explicitly to gender identity. Today, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act – which the President signed into law last October – does just that, finally protecting our nation’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered individuals from the most brutal forms of bias-motivated violence.

In another important development, in April of this year, the Justice Department concluded that the Violence Against Women Act covers, and more importantly protects, same sex partners. And, just several weeks ago, as part of the department’s, and the Administration’s, commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion, I announced a new Diversity Management Plan and the appointment of Channing Phillips as Deputy Associate Attorney General for Diversity. With this initiative, and with Channing’s leadership, we’re working to ensure that the Department can effectively recruit, hire, retain, and develop a workforce that reflects our nation’s rich diversity, a Department that welcomes and encourages the contributions of its LGBT employees.

I’m grateful for the assistance and guidance that so many of you have given. Our progress would not have been possible without your contributions. And while we have meaningful achievements to celebrate today, we must remember how much more work we have to do to transform today’s opportunities into tomorrow’s successes. Too many of the challenges that confronted the LGBT community 16 years ago – when DOJ Pride was founded – confront us still today. Too many of the same obstacles that existed then remain for us to overcome. Too many talented men and women cannot, in the words of this year’s motto, “serve openly, with pride.”

With your help and engagement, we’re working to ensure that the Justice Department lives up to its responsibility to provide a work environment where every employee is respected and given an equal opportunity to thrive. That’s the goal we share and the achievement we’ll keep working toward – together.

Thank you.


  1. salemlawyer says

    He forgot to mention that he compared our relationships to pedophilia and incest, and that he is actively fighting against advancement of our civil rights in federal court. But hey, he doesn’t believe we should get beat up or killed, so yippee!! Let’s celebrate!

    The clowns at DOJ Pride should have demounced their employer not praised him. What a joke.

  2. Michael @ says

    BRAVO for pointing out the ODOJ’s hypocrisy of touting a SINGLE advance for LGBTs while THEY ATTACK LGBT equality in other areas, resulting in mulitiple lawsuits against THEM including one by Lambda Legal for Obama, Inc.’s, REFUSAL TO OBEY A COURT ORDER permitting a lesbian federal employee to add her partner to her insurance policy at NO cost to the government and not in violation of DOMA.

    For the record, the ODOJ defended DADT in court before they defended DOMA. What got lost in the inferno that rightfully erupted after that first heinous DOMA brief was that no less than now-Supreme Court nominee Obama Solicitor General Elena Kagan convinced the Supremes to kill a lawsuit against DADT by discharged Army CAPT Jim Pietrangelo [who has since been arrested twice with Dan Choi at the White House].

    And it is not just once but more than half a dozen times that the ODOJ has tried to kill the LCR challenge to the ban.

    Finally, more than a year and a half after a ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals they have still failed to issue policies that would prevent virtually all discharges from Alaska to California to Hawaii and all the states in-between, including Idaho where Victor Fehrenbach awaits discharge, until the lawsuit of discharged Air Force Major Margaret Witt is completely adjudicated.

    Well, at least, they didn’t declare “Mission Accomplished.”

    PS: With respect, the hate crimes extension should always be referred to by its full name, which even Holder’s ghost writer shamelessly gets wrong: the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

  3. Keith says

    I know the Matthew Shephard and James Byrd Hate Crimes Act was passed and is the law of the land, but can anyone name a single case in which the law has been utilized by the Federal Government since it was enacted? What good is the law if the federal government doesn’t enforce it? Also, aren’t several states such OK, TX, AL and AR openly flouting the law and saying they’re exempt from it?

  4. JJ says

    Meanwhile, European countries and Canada have done all this AND treat gays as full citizens under the law in employment, marriage, taxes, healthcare, military, and even adoption. Why aren’t we moving out of the US yet?

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