May 29, 2015 at 10:39 pm EST | by Chris Johnson
Obama reflects on progress in Pride proclamation
President Obama speaks for the Democratic National Convention

President Obama has proclaimed June as Pride month. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

President Obama reflected on progress in LGBT issues in the past year on Friday in his annual proclamation declaring June as Pride month, saying the LGBT community throughout history has worked to improve the country.

“During Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, we celebrate the proud legacy LGBT individuals have woven into the fabric of our Nation, we honor those who have fought to perfect our Union, and we continue our work to build a society where every child grows up knowing that their country supports them, is proud of them, and has a place for them exactly as they are,” Obama writes.

Among the accomplishments cited in the past year is the taking effect of his executive order he signed last year barring anti-LGBT workplace discrimination among federal contractors.

“The Federal Government is now leading by example, ensuring that our employees and contractors are judged by the quality of their work, not by who they love,” Obama said.

Without naming any particular bill by name, Obama said he’ll continue to call on Congress “to pass legislation so that all Americans are covered by these protections, no matter where they work.”

Obama also mentions his newly stated position in favor of bans on “ex-gay” conversion therapy. The White House came out against state bans earlier this year, but advocated a state-by-state approach to the issue. When Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) introduced legislation to ban the practice by classifying it as fraud, the White House said it welcomes congressional action.

“And we recognize that families come in many shapes and sizes,” Obama said. “Whether biological, foster, or adoptive, family acceptance is an important protective factor against suicide and harm for LGBTQ youth, and mental health experts have created resources to support family communication and involvement.”

Ongoing projects within the administration, Obama said, are working to ensure LGBT youth and adults have access to housing throughout life; updating the national HIV strategy to address the disproportionate impact the disease has on gay and bisexual and transgender women; extending benefits to married same-sex couples; and championing LGBT human rights overseas.

The introduction of the proclamation includes a celebrated line on LGBT rights from Obama’s second inaugural address in 2013.

“Through struggle and setback, we see a common trajectory toward a more free and just society,” Obama said. “But we are also reminded that we are not truly equal until every person is afforded the same rights and opportunities — that when one of us experiences discrimination, it affects all of us — and that our journey is not complete until our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law.”

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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