President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have both marked Pride month in the US with speeches calling for LGBT equality.
“Just as I was very proud to say the obvious more than 15 years ago in Beijing that human rights are women’s rights — and women’s rights are human rights — let me say today that human rights are gay rights and gay rights are human rights,” said Clinton at a State Department Pride event on Tuesday.
“In some places, violence against the LGBT community is permitted by law and inflamed by public calls to violence. In others, it persists insidiously behind closed doors. These dangers are not gay issues. This is a human rights issue,” she added.
Clinton, who received a standing ovation, said she had asked US embassies in Africa, among other places to, to produce reports on the rights of local LGBT communities.
She used the occasion to announce that for the first time, gender identity will be included along with sexual orientation in State Department equal employee opportunity guidelines.
Also on Tuesday, The White House hosted a Pride Reception in which President Obama outlined his administration’s progress in advancing LGBT equality, such as the passing of the Matthew Shepard hate crime bill and moves to repeal the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ ban on gay and lesbian personnel.
“We have never been closer to ending this discriminatory policy, and I’m going to keep on fighting until that bill is on my desk,” he told the enthusiastic audience.
“We’ve got a lot of hard work that we still have to do, but we can already point to extraordinary progress that we’ve made over the past year on behalf of Americans who are gay and lesbian, bisexual and transgender,” he added.
Oboma also announced that he has issued an executive order extending “as many partnership benefits to gay and lesbian federal employees as possible under current law”.