WASHINGTON, June 2 (UPI) -- Barack Obama issued a presidential proclamation Friday declaring June as National LGBT Pride Month.
"As progress spreads from State to State, as justice is delivered in the courtroom, and as more of our fellow Americans are treated with dignity and respect -- our Nation becomes not only more accepting, but more equal as well," the President writes.
"During Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, we celebrate victories that have affirmed freedom and fairness, and we recommit ourselves to completing the work that remains," he continues.
President Obama goes on to celebrate last year's Defense of Marriage Act and declare that in its spirt, his administration will extend family and spousal immigration and military benefits to legally married same-sex couples.
After noting the significant progress made in the fight for LGBT rights and equality over the last few years, Obama reminds us that there is still work to be done. He calls on Congress to continue this progress by passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act—legislation which would make it illegal to fire or refuse to hire a person based on his or her sexual orientation or gender identity—and promises that "we will remain dedicated to addressing health disparities within the LGBT community by implementing the Affordable Care Act and the National HIV/AIDS Strategy" which focuses on improving care and decreasing transmission in at-risk communities.
The president writes that our commitment to advancing equality extends beyond our borders and calls on every nation to defend universal human rights and end the persecution of LGBT individuals.
He invokes the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall riots—widely regarded as sparking the gay rights movement—and asks us to "honor every brave leader who stood up, sat in, and came out, as well as the allies who supported them along the way."
"Following their example, let each of us speak for tolerance, justice, and dignity -- because if hearts and minds continue to change over time, laws will too," the presidential proclamation reads.
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 2014 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people.