To mark Pride Month, President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have both issued statements about the LGBT community.
This June represents the 40th Anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots, in which protesters clashed with the authorities after a violent police raid on a Greenwich Village gay bar. The riots are considered to be the start of the modern gay liberation movement.
In his statement, Obama officially declared June 2009 as national LGBT month in the US:
“I, Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2009 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to turn back discrimination and prejudice everywhere it exists.”
Obama added that he is proud to be to be the first President to appoint openly LGBT candidates to Senate-confirmed positions in the first 100 days of an Administration. “Openly LGBT employees are doing their jobs with distinction and professionalism,” he said.
He also reiterated his promise to bring equality to LGBT people:
“My Administration has partnered with the LGBT community to advance a wide range of initiatives. At the international level, I have joined efforts at the United Nations to decriminalise homosexuality around the world.
“Here at home, I continue to support measures to bring the full spectrum of equal rights to LGBT Americans. These measures include enhancing hate crimes laws, supporting civil unions and Federal rights for LGBT couples, outlawing discrimination in the workplace, ensuring adoption rights, and ending the existing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in a way that strengthens our Armed Forces and our national security. We must also commit ourselves to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic by both reducing the number of HIV infections and providing care and support services to people living with HIV/AIDS across the United States.”
In her statement, Clinton also commemorated the month of June and promised to do her best to support LGBT people around the world.
“In honor of Gay and Lesbian Pride Month and on behalf of the State Department, I extend our appreciation to the global LGBT community for its courage and determination during the past 40 years, and I offer our support for the significant work that still lies ahead.
“Gays and lesbians in many parts of the world live under constant threat of arrest, violence, even torture. The persecution of gays and lesbians is a violation of human rights and an affront to human decency, and it must end. As Secretary of State, I will advance a comprehensive human rights agenda that includes the elimination of violence and discrimination against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity,” she said.