White House LGBT Update: June 20, 2013
Thursday, June 20, 2013
In this White House LGBT Update, you will learn about the Obama Administration's ongoing efforts to advance equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, and activities at the White House and across the Administration to mark LGBT Pride Month.
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Pride at the White House
Last week, President Obama and Vice President Biden celebrated Pride Month at the White House with Administration officials, LGBT community and grassroots leaders, and elected officials from across the country.
Introducing the President were nine year old twins, Zea and Luna, who wrote a letter to President Obama earlier this year asking him to support marriage equality for their two moms who love them dearly. Several other members or allies of the LGBT community who wrote letters to the President were also invited to the reception. Check out this video of White House staff inviting the letter writers to the White House Pride reception.
President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the LGBT Pride Month celebration in the East Room of the White House, June 13, 2013. Vice President Joe Biden stands with the President.(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
In his remarks, the President described the tremendous progress we've made and highlighted work that remains to be done, including passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act:
In 34 states, you can be fired just because of who you are or who you love. That's wrong. We've got to change it. There's a bipartisan bill moving forward in the Senate that would ban discrimination against all LGBT Americans in the workplace, now and forever. We need to get that passed. I want to sign that bill. We need to get it done now.
Pride across the Obama Administration
Across the Administration, senior officials and Cabinet Secretaries have also celebrated LGBT Pride Month events at their agencies.
Secretary Kerry delivers remarks at the Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies (GLIFAA) Pride Event at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., June 19, 2013 (photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of State)
Yesterday, at the Department of State, Secretary John Kerry delivered keynote remarks at an event that also featured remarks by Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) and Mara Keisling of the National Center for Transgender Equality. In his remarks, Secretary Kerry described both the moral imperative and strategic value of promoting the human rights of LGBT persons internationally:
When we see the abuse of those values that are directed at the LGBT community, we have a moral obligation to stand in pride with LGBT individuals and advocates. We have a moral obligation to decry the marginalization and persecution of LGBT persons. And we have a moral obligation to promote societies that are more just, more fair, and tolerant.
It is the right thing to do. It's also in our country's strategic interest. Greater inclusion and protection of human rights, including those for LGBT people and for their communities, leads to greater stability, greater prosperity, and greater protection for the rights of human beings. Stronger partners on the world stage are built out of this endeavor, and the truth is that in the end, it can actually help project peace and security across the whole region.
And that is why, in 2011, President Obama issued the first-ever Presidential Memorandum on the human rights of LGBT persons globally, directing that all agencies abroad must ensure that our diplomacy and our foreign assistance promotes and protects these rights. And I think we have accomplished a great deal on this issue.
Earlier this week at the Department of Justice, Attorney General Eric Holder spoke at an event alongside U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and award-winning recording artist Melissa Etheridge. In his remarks, the Attorney General highlighted DOJ's ongoing efforts, from implementing the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act to investigating and addressing pervasive anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools. He also expressed DOJ's ongoing commitment in the years ahead:
Although we can be encouraged by the work that's underway, and by developments like the bipartisan reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act – which includes protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals – the fact remains that, across the country, far too many LGBT Americans suffer discrimination each and every day. That's why the Department will keep working to promote opportunity and access for every individual. It's why this will continue to be a priority for this Department as long as I have the privilege to serve as Attorney General. It's why we will continue to advocate for essential legislative changes and reforms, like the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, to extend workplace protections to all Americans. And it's why we'll keep relying on the passion, the expertise, and the steadfast commitment of talented professionals like all of you – and leaders like our awardees and special guests – to keep building on the momentum we've established, and fighting to ensure that the successes we've seen are just the beginning.
Acting Secretary Harris listens as Rep. Kyrsten Sinema talks about labor and economic issues, and LGBT rights; Ana Ma, Chief of Staff, Department of Labor looks on, June 3, 2013 (photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Labor)
Earlier this month, at the Department of Labor, Acting Secretary Seth Harris hosted a Pride Event featuring remarks by Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), focused on labor and economic issues and LGBT equality.
And at the National Council on Disability, Executive Director Rebecca Cokley, Chairperson Jeff Rosen, and the entire Council released a statement commemorating LGBT Pride Month, highlighting the shared stories and goals of the LGBT and disability communities:
Pride can help break the destructive influence of shaming and isolation. In community we discover the bond of common experience, learn about parallel histories, and have an opportunity to develop shared strength in ways an individual can't do alone. Pride can be the antidote to stigma and rejection. It can be a beacon of hope, perhaps our best tool in suicide prevention.
HUD Releases First-Ever Study on Housing Discrimination Against Same-Sex Couples
This week, the Department of Housing and Urban Development released the nation's first ever national study examining housing discrimination against same-sex couples in the private rental market.
"President Obama and this administration have been unmatched in our efforts to ensure equal and fair treatment of LGBT persons and communities," said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. "Following the president's lead, HUD has taken historic steps in the area of fair housing to ensure that we fulfill our nation's commitment to equality. As this study shows, we need to continue our efforts to ensure that everyone is treated the same when it comes to finding a home to call their own, regardless of their sexual orientation."
According to HUD's study, same-sex couples experience unequal treatment more often than heterosexual couples when responding to internet ads for rental units, and findings show that gay male couples experience more discrimination than lesbian couples.
Tweet of the Week
In Case You Missed It
President Barack Obama greets participants during the Father's Day luncheon in the State Dining Room of the White House, June 14, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
- June 19: President Obama Speaks to the People of Berlin from the Brandenburg Gate
- June 19: We the Geeks: Building a 21st Century Resume
- June 17: A New Astronaut Class Begins Its Journey
- June 15: Weekly Address: Celebrating Father's Day Weekend
- June 14: Our 13 Favorite Photos of President Obama Being a Dad
- June 14: 2012 WNBA Champion Indiana Fever Visit the White House
- June 14: Deferred Action Remains a Smart and Sensible Immigration Policy, but Congress Still Needs to Act
- June 12: Pride at the White House
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Thursday, June 20, 2013
White House LGBT Update: June 20, 2013
Posted by PFOX at 12:53 PM