President Barack Obama declared June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month. He cited the steps forward his administration has made in appointing more openly gay people to high ranking positions, repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and making progress in eliminating discrimination in federal housing and employment practices.
However, no mention was made about recognition of relationship statuses, such as support for marriage or civil unions. His statements came as hundreds of couples lined up at courthouses around Obama’s home state of Illinois on the first day the state will be recognizing civil unions between same-sex partners.
Obama’s address also cited his opposition to anti-gay legislation around the world, such as the Uganda ‘Kill the Gays Bill.’
“Because we recognize that LGBT rights are human rights, my administration stands with advocates of equality around the world in leading the fight against pernicious laws targeting LGBT persons and malicious attempts to exclude LGBT organizations from full participation in the international system,” Obama said in the statement.
He emphasized his support for hate-crimes legislation and the prevention of bullying of LGBT people.
“At home, we are working to address and eliminate violence against LGBT individuals through our enforcement and implementation of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. We are also working to reduce the threat of bullying against young people, including LGBT youth,” Obama said.
The Obama administration has been a lightning rod for gay-rights supporters, as many have wanted faster and more effective action while others are continuing to voice their support of his tactics. Last month the Human Rights Campaign announced their endorsement of Obama for re-election in 2012. This comes despite his voiced opposition to gay marriage. However, the HRC cited steps such as an the allowance of same-sex partners in hospital visitation rooms and the eventual repeal of DADT in their endorsement.
Obama concluded his statements, saying, “Every generation of Americans has brought our Nation closer to fulfilling its promise of equality.”
In 1999, then-President Bill Clinton announced June as the first LGBT Pride Month and issued a proclamation. Since then, each June, which commemorates the Stonewall Riots and the birth of the gay-rights movement in the U.S., is recognized as Pride Month.