May 30, 2014 at 4:16 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Obama proclaims June as Pride month
Barack Obama, ENDA, United States of America, Democratic Party, gay news, Washington Blade

President Barack Obama

President Obama will host a reception at the White House commemorating June as the month of Pride on June 30, the Washington Blade has learned.

“On Monday, June 30, President Obama will host a reception at the White House in celebration of LGBT Pride Month,” a White House official said. “Additional details about the event, including media access, will be released at a later date.”

The White House has hosted a Pride celebration in which President Obama has spoke each year thus far over the course of both terms of his administration. It’ll be the sixth time a Pride celebration has taken place at the White House.

On the same day the White House disclosed this information, Obama issued his annual proclamation designating June as the official month of Pride. This year, amid victory after victory in favor of marriage equality in the courts, Obama takes special note of the advancement of progress through the states.

“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 says. “During Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, we celebrate victories that have affirmed freedom and fairness, and we recommit ourselves to completing the work that remains.”

It’s also the first Pride proclamation in which Obama has mentioned the U.S. Supreme Court ruling against the Defense of Marriage Act. Last year’s Pride proclamation came out just one month before the historic ruling against the ban on federal recognition of same-sex marriage.

“Last year, supporters of equality celebrated the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act, a ruling which, at long last, gave loving, committed families the respect and legal protections they deserve,” Obama says. “In keeping with this decision, my Administration is extending family and spousal benefits — from immigration benefits to military family benefits — to legally married same-sex couples.”

Obama also notes that LGBT workers can still be fired in “too many states” because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, but calls for passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act as opposed to saying anything about a much sought-after executive order baring LGBT discrimination against federal contractors.

“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,” Obama says.

Further, Obama takes note of growing concern over international LGBT rights, saying human rights abuses against LGBT people overseas is “unacceptable.”

“Our commitment to advancing equality for the LGBT community extends far beyond our borders,” Obama says. “In many places around the globe, LGBT people face persecution, arrest, or even state-sponsored execution. This is unacceptable. The United States calls on every nation to join us in defending the universal human rights of our LGBT brothers and sisters.”

Concluding his proclamation, Obama recalls the Stonewall demonstrations in New York City that started the annual Pride celebrations happened 45 years ago this year.

“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 says. “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.”

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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