As he has in every year of his presidency, President Obama has proclaimed June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month.
The 2016 proclamation, the last for his administration, was issued today and noted the great progress made toward equal treatment of LGBT Americans — it’s the first proclamation since last year’s Supreme Court marriage equality ruling, which came down June 26 — but also pointed out that there is more work to be done.
“Last year's landmark Supreme Court decision guaranteeing marriage equality in all 50 States was a historic victory for LGBT Americans, ensuring dignity for same-sex couples and greater equality across State lines,” the president wrote. “For every partnership that was not previously recognized under the law and for every American who was denied their basic civil rights, this monumental ruling instilled newfound hope, affirming the belief that we are all more free when we are treated as equals.”
He noted his work on behalf of LGBT rights, including his 2014 executive order prohibiting companies doing business with the federal government from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. He urged Congress pass legislation to this effect, “because no one should live in fear of losing their job simply because of who they are or who they love.”
“LGBT individuals deserve to know their country stands beside them,” Obama continued. “That is why my Administration is striving to better understand the needs of LGBT adults and to provide affordable, welcoming, and supportive housing to aging LGBT Americans. It is also why we oppose subjecting minors to the harmful practice of conversion therapy, and why we are continuing to promote equality and foster safe and supportive learning environments for all students. We remain committed to addressing health disparities in the LGBT community — gay and bisexual men and transgender women of color are at a particularly high risk for HIV, and we have worked to strengthen our National HIV/AIDS Strategy to reduce new infections, increase access to care, and improve health outcomes for people living with HIV.”
The president further asserted that the need to combat discrimination “does not stop at our borders,” and that “defending and promoting the human rights of LGBT individuals” is a priority in foreign policy. “In line with America's commitment to the notion that all people should be treated fairly and with respect, champions of this cause at home and abroad are upholding the simple truth that LGBT rights are human rights,” he wrote.
“There remains much work to do to extend the promise of our country to every American,” he went on, “but because of the acts of courage of the millions who came out and spoke out to demand justice and of those who quietly toiled and pushed for progress, our Nation has made great strides in recognizing what these brave individuals long knew to be true in their hearts — that love is love and that no person should be judged by anything but the content of their character.” He closed with a call for all Americans “to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people.”