We got a proclamation! It’s “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month”

President Obama declared June 2009 as “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month.” No new rights or anything like that, but we got a proclamation.

Obama wants us to know he “continue[s] to support measures to bring the full spectrum of equal rights to LGBT Americans.” That’s good. But, he’s President now, not a candidate. A lot of people worked very hard to elect Obama, due in part to his campaign promises of equal rights for LGBT Americans. But, now, we need action, not more promises – at the very least, we need the inklings of a plan of action. So far, we’ve seen no indication of how, or even if, Obama is going to turn his support of those measures into reality. We’ve seen words, nice words like the ones below, but nothing really concrete on the legislative front, besides the Hate Crimes bill. And while the Hate Crimes bill is important, it’s probably at the bottom of the totem pole, in terms of its importance among the promises Obama has made our community. (And in any case, it already passed both the House and Senate back in 2007 – so the White House doesn’t really get any credit for it passing again.)

Here’s the proclamation:

Forty years ago, patrons and supporters of the Stonewall Inn in New York City resisted police harassment that had become all too common for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Out of this resistance, the LGBT rights movement in America was born. During LGBT Pride Month, we commemorate the events of June 1969 and commit to achieving equal justice under law for LGBT Americans.

LGBT Americans have made, and continue to make, great and lasting contributions that continue to strengthen the fabric of American society. There are many well-respected LGBT leaders in all professional fields, including the arts and business communities. LGBT Americans also mobilized the Nation to respond to the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic and have played a vital role in broadening this country’s response to the HIV pandemic.

Due in no small part to the determination and dedication of the LGBT rights movement, more LGBT Americans are living their lives openly today than ever before. I am proud to be the first President to appoint openly LGBT candidates to Senate-confirmed positions in the first 100 days of an Administration. These individuals embody the best qualities we seek in public servants, and across my Administration — in both the White House and the Federal agencies — openly LGBT employees are doing their jobs with distinction and professionalism.

The LGBT rights movement has achieved great progress, but there is more work to be done. LGBT youth should feel safe to learn without the fear of harassment, and LGBT families and seniors should be allowed to live their lives with dignity and respect.

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 decriminalize 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.

These issues affect not only the LGBT community, but also our entire Nation. As long as the promise of equality for all remains unfulfilled, all Americans are affected. If we can work together to advance the principles upon which our Nation was founded, every American will benefit. During LGBT Pride Month, I call upon the LGBT community, the Congress, and the American people to work together to promote equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

NOW, THEREFORE, 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.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.

Very nice and appreciated. But, this is 2009, not 1993. We need more than words, we need real action. And, from watching how activists on other issues are making progress with Team Obama – such as the Hispanic community, that was pushing for three Cabinet posts, and now has a Supreme Court justice too (we’re zero and zero) – one thing is clear: We’re going to have to be pretty forceful, loud and unrelenting about what we want, if we expect any movement.

Also, as I’ve noted before — and will continue to note, GLAD filed a lawsuit aimed at finding Section 3 of DOMA unconstitutional. The government’s answer is due by the end of June. During this LGBT Pride Month, if the Obama administration chooses to actually defend DOMA (and they do have a choice), that will speak much, much louder about Obama’s continued support for gay Americans than this proclamation. (I actually think that if Obama wasn’t hindered by his political advisers and consultants, he’d be much better on the issue. You know, in an off-the-record kind of way, he probably already is.)

On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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