President Obama has proclaimed June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month.
The story of America’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community is the story of our fathers and sons, our mothers and daughters, and our friends and neighbors who continue the task of making our country a more perfect Union. It is a story about the struggle to realize the great American promise that all people can live with dignity and fairness under the law. Each June, we commemorate the courageous individuals who have fought to achieve this promise for LGBT Americans, and we rededicate ourselves to the pursuit of equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Since taking office, my Administration has made significant progress towards achieving equality for LGBT Americans. Last December, I was proud to sign the repeal of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. With this repeal, gay and lesbian Americans will be able to serve openly in our Armed Forces for the first time in our Nation’s history. Our national security will be strengthened and the heroic contributions these Americans make to our military, and have made throughout our history, will be fully recognized.
Look, it’s not that I’m ungrateful for the proclamation; it’s very nice, and compared to other administrations in the past, it’s far better than what we’ve gotten. Some presidents wouldn’t even say the word “gay” or even consider appointing one to their cabinet or a position in their administration. And it’s not that we don’t welcome the support of political leaders; it’s far better than the alternative, where presidents openly campaigned for a constitutional amendment to ban us from getting married. And it’s not that I mind a nice parade out with a lot of nice people. But I don’t think I’m alone in saying that rather than having a day or a parade or a week or a month proclaimed as Gay Pride, I’d rather have the basic rights that I’m entitled to, such as marriage, inheritance, adoption, insurance coverage, and all the other things that every citizen takes for granted.
To quote Benjamin Franklin in 1776, it is “like calling an ox a bull. He’s thankful for the honor, but he’d much rather have restored what’s rightfully his.”