Statement by President Obama on UN Accreditation of the ILGHRC

July 20, 2010

from the White House

I welcome this important step forward for human rights, as the International Lesbian and Gay Human Rights Commission (ILGHRC) will take its rightful seat at the table of the United Nations. The UN was founded on the premise that only through mutual respect, diversity, and dialogue can the international community effectively pursue justice and equality. Today, with the more full inclusion of the International Lesbian and Gay Human Rights Commission, the United Nations is closer to the ideals on which it was founded, and to values of inclusion and equality to which the United States is deeply committed.


Watch President Obama’s Remarks at White House Pride Reception

June 23, 2010

read the transcript here


Presidential Proclamation–Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month

May 28, 2010

from the Office of the Press Secretary

As Americans, it is our birthright that all people are created equal and deserve the same rights, privileges, and opportunities.  Since our earliest days of independence, our Nation has striven to fulfill that promise.  An important chapter in our great, unfinished story is the movement for fairness and equality on behalf of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.  This month, as we recognize the immeasurable contributions of LGBT Americans, we renew our commitment to the struggle for equal rights for LGBT Americans and to ending prejudice and injustice wherever it exists.

LGBT Americans have enriched and strengthened the fabric of our national life.  From business leaders and professors to athletes and first responders, LGBT individuals have achieved success and prominence in every discipline.  They are our mothers and fathers, our sons and daughters, and our friends and neighbors.  Across my Administration, openly LGBT employees are serving at every level.  Thanks to those who came before us    the brave men and women who marched, stood up to injustice, and brought change through acts of compassion or defiance    we have made enormous progress and continue to strive for a more perfect union.

My Administration has advanced our journey by signing into law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which strengthens Federal protections against crimes based on gender identity or sexual orientation.  We renewed the Ryan White CARE Act, which provides life saving medical services and support to Americans living with HIV/AIDS, and finally eliminated the HIV entry ban.  I also signed a Presidential Memorandum directing hospitals receiving Medicare and Medicaid funds to give LGBT patients the compassion and security they deserve in their time of need, including the ability to choose someone other than an immediate family member to visit them and make medical decisions.

In other areas, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a series of proposals to ensure core housing programs are open to everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.  HUD also announced the first ever national study of discrimination against members of the LGBT community in the rental and sale of housing.  Additionally, the Department of Health and Human Services has created a National Resource Center for LGBT Elders.

Much work remains to fulfill our Nation’s promise of equal justice under law for LGBT Americans.  That is why we must give committed gay couples the same rights and responsibilities afforded to any married couple, and repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.  We must protect the rights of LGBT families by securing their adoption rights, ending employment discrimination against LGBT Americans, and ensuring Federal employees receive equal benefits.  We must create safer schools so all our children may learn in a supportive environment.  I am also committed to ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” so patriotic LGBT Americans can serve openly in our military, and I am working with the Congress and our military leadership to accomplish that goal.

As we honor the LGBT Americans who have given so much to our Nation, let us remember that if one of us is unable to realize full equality, we all fall short of our founding principles.  Our Nation draws its strength from our diversity, with each of us contributing to the greater whole.  By affirming these rights and values, each American benefits from the further advancement of liberty and justice for all.

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 2010 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month.  I call upon all Americans to observe this month by fighting prejudice and discrimination in their own lives and everywhere it exists.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.

BARACK OBAMA


Statement by the President on Votes to Repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

May 28, 2010

from the Office of the Press Secretary

“I have long advocated that we repeal ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’, and I am pleased that both the House of Representatives and the Senate Armed Services Committee took important bipartisan steps toward repeal tonight.  Key to successful repeal will be the ongoing Defense Department review, and as such I am grateful that the amendments offered by Representative Patrick Murphy and Senators Joseph Lieberman and Carl Levin that passed today will ensure that the Department of Defense can complete that comprehensive review that will allow our military and their families the opportunity to inform and shape the implementation process.  Our military is made up of the best and bravest men and women in our nation, and my greatest honor is leading them as Commander-in-Chief. This legislation will help make our Armed Forces even stronger and more inclusive by allowing gay and lesbian soldiers to serve honestly and with integrity.”

- President Barack Obama


President Obama Acknowledges Lesbian Moms in Mother’s Day Proclamation

May 7, 2010

Presidential Proclamation–Mother’s Day

A PROCLAMATION

Generations of mothers have labored tirelessly and selflessly to support and guide their children and families.  Their loving, devoted efforts have broadened horizons for their children and opened doors of opportunity for our Nation’s daughters and granddaughters.  On Mother’s Day, we pay tribute to these women who have given so much of themselves to lift up our children and shape America’s character.

Julia Ward Howe, who wrote the words for the song The Battle Hymn of the Republic, led early efforts to establish a day honoring the influence of mothers on our lives and communities.  In the ensuing decades, many Americans rallied to support this cause, including Anna Jarvis.  After the loss of her own mother, Anna helped spur the nationwide institution of Mother’s Day we celebrate each year.

From our first moments in this world and throughout our lives, our mothers protect us from harm, nurture our spirits, and encourage us to reach for our highest aspirations.  Through their unwavering commitment, they have driven and inspired countless acts of leadership, compassion, and service across our country.  Many mothers have struggled to raise children while pursuing their careers, or as single parents working to provide for their families.  They have carried the torch of trailblazers past, leading by powerful example and overcoming obstacles so their sons and daughters could reach their fullest potential.

Whether adoptive, biological, or foster, mothers share an unbreakable bond with their children, and Americans of all ages and backgrounds owe them an immeasurable debt.  Nurturing families come in many forms, and children may be raised by two parents, a single mother, two mothers, a step-mom, a grandmother, or a guardian. Mother’s Day gives us an opportunity to celebrate these extraordinary caretakers, mentors, and providers who have made us who we are.  As we honor today’s mothers, we also reflect upon the memory of those who have passed, and we renew our commitment to living the values they cultivated in us.

The Congress, by a joint resolution approved May 8, 1914 (38 Stat. 770), has designated the second Sunday in May each year as “Mother’s Day” and requested the President to call for its appropriate observance.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 9, 2010, as Mother’s Day.  Let us express our deepest love and thanks to our mothers and remember those who, though no longer with us, inspire us still.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this seventh day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.


NCLR Praises President Obama’s Order Extending LGBT Hospital Visitation Rights

April 15, 2010

A Statement from NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell

(Washington, D.C., April 15, 2010) — Today President Barack Obama ordered the Department of Health and Human Services to prohibit discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in hospital visitation. The new rule will grant hospital visitation rights to same-sex partners, and making it easier for LGBT people to make medical decisions on behalf of their partners.

A statement from Kate Kendell, Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights:

“There is perhaps no more appalling and heartbreaking story we hear than when the partner of an LGBT person is barred from being at the side of their loved one in the midst of a tragedy or serious illness. In life’s most harrowing moments, loved ones are separated at the most critical time of need. Quite literally long-term partners have been sitting in excruciating fear and frustration in a waiting room while the love of their life dies alone in a hospital room. This action by the Obama administration will put an end to this inhumanity and assure that partners can be at the bedside of those they love.”

read the memorandum


Obama Orders Hospitals to Grant Same-Sex Couples Visitation Rights

April 15, 2010

by Michael D. Shear | Washington Post

President Obama on Thursday signed a memorandum requiring hospitals to allow gays and lesbians to have non-family visitors and to grant their partners medical power of attorney.

read more


Justice Dept.: Obama Wrong in ‘Don’t Ask’ Case

April 14, 2010

by Bob Egelko | San Francisco Chronicle

At a gay-rights reception in June 2009, President Obama said the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law, which prohibits gays and lesbians from serving openly in the armed forces, “weakens our national security.”

This week, Obama’s Justice Department found itself in the awkward position of declaring in a court filing that the president was wrong – at least in the context of a case challenging the law.

read more


Gibbs Questions Justice Department Brief

April 6, 2010

by Kerry Eleveld | the Advocate

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs on Tuesday put some distance between the White House and the Department of Justice in terms of the department’s approach to defending “don’t ask, don’t tell” in a brief filed last week. Gibbs suggested it was “odd” that DOJ used Gen. Colin Powell’s 1993 testimony to defend the law because Powell has since changed his views on the matter.

“Was it odd that they included previous statements from General Colin Powell on a belief set that he no longer had?” Gibbs posed, in response to a question from The Advocate. “I don’t think the President would disagree with that.”

Gibbs also said that he has never heard the president take a stance on the constitutionality of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

read more

The transcript of the Q/A is below:

The Advocate: So obviously there’s a number of cases sort of wending their way through the courts right now challenging DOMA and “don’t ask, don’t tell.”  Last week the Department of Justice filed another brief defending “don’t ask, don’t tell.”  It angered a lot of advocates; some legal scholars thought it was a step backwards in terms of dismantling the law.  Is the President at all concerned that DOJ is a little insular or tone deaf on issues that are sort of politically sticky, especially those of interest to the LGBT community?

GIBBS:  I will say this, obviously the President has enunciated his support for ending “don’t ask, don’t tell,” rolling back — made a commitment to roll back DOMA in the campaign.  Obviously, the Justice Department has — is charged with upholding the law as it exists, not as the President would like to see it.  We have obviously taken steps on the front of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and I think we’ve made a genuine amount of progress.  I will say, was it odd that they included previous statements from General Colin Powell on a belief set that he no longer had?  I don’t think the President would disagree with that.

The Advocate: Does the President think it’s constitutional, “don’t ask, don’t tell?”

GIBBS: I have not heard him talk about that.


In Health Bill, Obama Attacks Wealth Inequality

March 24, 2010

by David Leonhardt | New York Times

For all the political and economic uncertainties about health reform, at least one thing seems clear: The bill that President Obama signed on Tuesday is the federal government’s biggest attack on economic inequality since inequality began rising more than three decades ago.

read more


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