May 31, 2013 | by Chris Johnson
Obama cites ENDA support in Pride proclamation
Citizens Metal, Barack Obama, gay news, Washington Blade

President Obama cites his support for ENDA in his 2013 Pride proclamation (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

President Obama said he continues to support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act as well as legislation to repeal the Defense of Marriage in his proclamation this year declaring June the month of Pride.

In his proclamation issued on Friday, Obama takes notes of the two bills — in addition to touting the LGBT implications of the health care reform law — as he enumerates agenda items he still wants to see for LGBT community.

“We have witnessed real and lasting change, but our work is not complete,” Obama wrote. “I continue to support a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act, as well as the Respect for Marriage Act. My Administration continues to implement the Affordable Care Act, which beginning in 2014, prohibits insurers from denying coverage to consumers based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which addresses the disparate impact of the HIV epidemic among certain LGBT sub-communities.”

The mention of ENDA marks a change from last year, when Obama didn’t mention in his proclamation anything with respect to LGBT workplace protections. Still, that proclamation was the first that took note of Obama’s support for marriage equality, which he announced in the previous month.

Additionally, the Pride proclamation this year offers Obama’s perspective on the path to achieving full equal rights for LGBT people.

“We have a long way to go, but if we continue on this path together, I am confident that one day soon, from coast to coast, all of our young people will look to the future with the same sense of promise and possibility,” Obama writes. “I am confident because I have seen the talent, passion, and commitment of LGBT advocates and their allies, and I know that when voices are joined in common purpose, they cannot be stopped.”

Also included in the proclamation is some of the Obama administration’s more recent achievements, such as signing into law reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act with LGBT protections and implementing a federal strategy to advance LGBT rights around the world.

The full text of the proclamation follows:

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release May 31, 2013

LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, AND TRANSGENDER PRIDE MONTH, 2013 ——-
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION

For more than two centuries, our Nation has struggled to
transform the ideals of liberty and equality from founding
promise into lasting reality. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and
transgender (LGBT) Americans and their allies have been hard at
work on the next great chapter of that history — from the
patrons of The Stonewall Inn who sparked a movement to service
members who can finally be honest about who they love to brave
young people who come out and speak out every day.

This year, we celebrate LGBT Pride Month at a moment of
great hope and progress, recognizing that more needs to be done.
Support for LGBT equality is growing, led by a generation which
understands that, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
“injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” In the
past year, for the first time, voters in multiple States
affirmed marriage equality for same-sex couples. State and
local governments have taken important steps to provide
much-needed protections for transgender Americans.

My Administration is a proud partner in the journey toward
LGBT equality. We extended hate crimes protections to include
attacks based on sexual orientation or gender identity and
repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” We lifted the HIV entry ban
and ensured hospital visitation rights for LGBT patients.
Together, we have investigated and addressed pervasive bullying
faced by LGBT students, prohibited discrimination based on
sexual orientation and gender identity in Federal housing, and
extended benefits for same-sex domestic partners. Earlier this
year, I signed a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women
Act (VAWA) that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual
orientation or gender identity in the implementation of any
VAWA-funded program. And because LGBT rights are human rights,
my Administration is implementing the first-ever Federal
strategy to advance equality for LGBT people around the world.

We have witnessed real and lasting change, but our work
is not complete. I continue to support a fully inclusive
Employment Non-Discrimination Act, as well as the Respect for
Marriage Act. My Administration continues to implement the
Affordable Care Act, which beginning in 2014, prohibits insurers
from denying coverage to consumers based on their sexual
orientation or gender identity, as well as the National HIV/AIDS
Strategy, which addresses the disparate impact of the HIV
epidemic among certain LGBT sub-communities. We have a long way
to go, but if we continue on this path together, I am confident
that one day soon, from coast to coast, all of our young people
will look to the future with the same sense of promise and
possibility. I am confident because I have seen the talent,
passion, and commitment of LGBT advocates and their allies, and
I know that when voices are joined in common purpose, they
cannot be stopped.

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 2013 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 thirteen, and of the Independence of the
United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.

BARACK OBAMA

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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