Former President Barack Obama, in a video posted Friday for a virtual celebration of Pride Month, recognized Supreme Court decisions for LGBTQ rights as continuation of the work started by the Stonewall riots more than 50 years ago.
“We’re almost 51 years since the night when the patrons at the Stonewall Inn stood up for their rights and set off one of America’s defining victories for civil rights,” Obama says in the video. “Because of the movement they sparked and the decades of work that followed, marriage equality became the law of the land five years ago and just this month the Supreme Court ruled that employers can no longer discriminate against LGBTQ workers.”
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court ruled in the decision of Bostock v. Clayton County anti-LGBTQ discrimination is a form of sex discrimination, thus illegal in the workplace under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The decision in favor of same-sex marriage in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges came down in 2015 during Obama’s second term in office.
“All that progress is worth celebrating and reflecting on,” Obama says. “The struggle and triumph for LGBTQ rights shows how protests and politics go hand in hand, how we’ve got to both shine a light on injustice and translate those aspirations into specific laws and institutional practices.”
The virtual celebration, called Pride Live, was a three-day event which sought on Friday to raise funds for LGBTQ organizations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic: Trans LifeLife, Brave Space Alliance, TransLatin@Coalition, and The Ally Coalition. During the event, Pride Live announced that philanthropists Tim Gill and Scott Miller of the Gill Foundation contributed $50,000 to the cause.
Joseph Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, and his wife Dr. Jill Biden also appeared in a video for the event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Pride Month.
“Pride is particularly poignant this year,” Biden says in the video. “Even as the LGBTQ+ rights continued to be attacked, the Supreme Court has affirmed protections for LGBTQ+ people against employment discrimination.”
Both Obama and Biden also mentioned violence against transgender people, particularly Black transgender people, as ongoing issues from LGBTQ people.
Also delivering messages for the Pride Live event was Taylor Swift, Demi Lovato and Katy Perry as Hayley Kiyoko and Kesha performed.