On May 31, 2013, the Office of the Press Secretary released President Obama’s 2013 Presidential Proclamation declaring June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month. Each year President Obama has released his proclamation outlining all that has been done for the LGBT community by the administration during the prior year, as well as what is planned in the coming months. This year’s Proclamation recognizes that in the past year, for the first time, voters in multiple states affirmed marriage equality for same-sex couples, and state and local governments have taken important steps to provide much-needed protections for transgender Americans.
The Proclamation also highlights other work the Administration has undertaken to advance toward LGBT equality such as expansion of hate crime protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity, lifting the HIV entry ban, and repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” so that openly gay service members can now serve our country without fear of disciplinary repercussions and dismissal. While the statement shows that a lot of progress has been made, there is more to be done and the Administration is not finished. In the Proclamation, President Obama stated that, “we have a long way to go, but if we continue on this path together, I am confident that one day soon, from coast to coast, all of our young people will look to the future with the same sense of promise and possibility.”
The President’s Proclamation comes as the Nation awaits with bated breath the Supreme Court’s decision of whether or not to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8. A decision is expected by the end of this month.
The Department of Defense has also chosen to recognize June as LGBT Pride Month, remarking that “the LGBT community has written a proud chapter in this fundamentally American story by reminding us that integrity and respect remain corner stones of our military and civilian culture.” Following the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 2011, the Department of Defense held its first pride celebration in 2012 and hosted a panel entitled “The Value of Open Service and Diversity” examining being openly gay in the military.
Lawmakers and voters in the D.C. metropolitan area have made great strides toward equal rights for the LGBT community as well. In the past several years, the District of Columbia passed a law allowing same-sex couples to get divorced if they were married in the District but no longer reside there. Additionally, D.C. recently amended its adoption jurisdiction statute to include children born in the District, although not residing in the District, as grounds for an adoption, thus allowing for same-sex couples to give birth and file for second-parent adoptions in D.C. with greater ease than in neighboring jurisdictions. Indeed, several of our same-sex clients have already availed themselves under the new D.C. adoption statute. This past year, Maryland voters also passed a referendum legalizing same-sex marriage which took effect in January 2013.
Locally, D.C. is preparing for its own pride celebrations kicking off Capital Pride 2013 this upcoming weekend with a myriad of events, including the Pride Festival, a Pride Run 5K, Embassy Pride and the beloved Capital Pride Parade. The annual Capital Pride Parade steps off on Saturday, June 8, 2013 at 4:30 p.m. and travels through Dupont Circle, down 17th Street and ends in the Logan Circle neighborhood of northwest Washington, D.C.
To read President Obama’s 2013 Proclamation, please visit:
To find out more about Capital Pride 2013 and scheduled events, please visit: http://www.capitalpride.org/