It's June, and that means LGBT Pride month. To mark this the White House released the President's 2013 pride month proclamation.
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
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 We extended hate crimes protections to include attacks based on sexual orientation or gender identity and repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."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 too 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.
It's lengthy, it's elegantly worded and as in years past, a powerful testament to how far we have co.....zzzzzzzzzzzzz.... Oh sorry, I seem to have nodded off the middle of this blog post. Mostly because we have heard all these wonderful words before.
Yes they are truly, wonderful, powerful and inspiring words. There is the problem. On the key issues facing the LGBT community that is pretty much all we have had lately. Just words. The most recent example of this being the Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill (CIR) currently working it's way through the United States Senate. On the issue of inclusion of same sex couples into this key piece of legislation, the President has been full of the right words.
At a recent press conference while on a state visit to Mexico, the subject of immigration was front and center, the President was clear and eloquent (again) with his wonderfully supportive words.
It is also worth noting, that all these clear statements of support are invariably followed up with the caveat , of how not everyone "is going to get everything they want .." type language. It's hard not to become cynical when hearing that. It usually means that when the President later fails to put the weight of the executive branch behind those wonderful words, he can take cover behind the banner of "bi-partisanship". When in fact, the truth is, both the President and Congressional Democrats simply gave in to GOP demands.
Which is exactly what happened in the US Senate when faced with the choice to live up to their wonderful words.
The President could have used the weight of the White House to pressure the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee to hold their ground on the Leahy Amendments. Now, I understand the process that led up to the massively disappointing decision by Democrats to abandon the provisions of Same Sex couples that Senator Leahy has sough to include in the Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill. Yet the facts are it was an abandonment, done in the hopes of appeasing Republicans who had threatened to kill the bill in the name of their own bigotry.
The Facts are, the Democrats caved. What's more, they caved when they had no good reason to do so. The Republican Party is a national non-starter for Latino voters. The GOP desperately needs CIR to pass, so they can try to convince this crucial electoral demographic that they really don't hate them.
If the GOP really is so stupid as to kill the bill on this issue, it would have set the racism and homophobic bigotry of the Republicans as the central issue for for the 2014 midterms, a debate Democrats would have easily won. Instead, the Democrats, with the tacit approval of the White House, have turned the clock back to 2009 and sent a very clear message to GOP that all they have to do to effectively block the President's legislative agenda is simply threaten to say No.
Like many, I am always happy to hear wonderful words, Yet there comes a point when words are not enough. I am deeply disappointed with the Democrats choice to capitulate to Republican fear-mongering as quickly and as easily as they did.