Earlier this month, President Obama released the 2012 LGBT Pride Month Proclamation as well as a video message. And on Friday, the President delivered remarks to hundreds of advocates and community leaders, students and faith leaders at the White House LGBT Pride Month Reception. In his remarks, the President described some of the significant steps his Administration has taken over the last few years, including the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”:
And, of course, last year we finally put an end to “don’t ask, don’t tell” -- so that nobody would ever have to ever again hide who they love in order to serve the country they love. And I know we've got some military members who are here today. I'm happy to see you with your partners here. We thank you for your service. We thank your families for their service, and we share your joy at being able to come with your spouses or partners here to the White House with your Commander-in-Chief.
Over the last few weeks, members of the President’s Cabinet have also released their own statements and video messages.
Secretary of Health & Human Services Kathleen Sebelius released a statement in which she reaffirmed the Obama Administration’s “commitment to addressing the special health needs of LGBT Americans and reducing health disparities for them and members of other vulnerable communities.” In the statement, Secretary Sebelius also emphasized the importance of the Affordable Care Act in ensuring that LGBT people have access to coverage when they need it the most, the federal website HealthCare.gov which makes it easy to locate health insurers that cover domestic partners, and ongoing efforts by HHS to incorporate data collection on LGBT populations into national health surveys.
At the Department of Labor, Secretary Hilda Solis also issued a statement on LGBT Pride Month that describes the progress we’ve made over the last few years and specifically mentions guidance from DOL that the Family and Medical Leave Act applies to kids of all families.
In a video message commemorating LGBT Pride Month, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reaffirmed the Obama Administration’s “commitment to making sure that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”
And last week, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta recorded a video message in which he paid tribute to the successful repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” as proof that “just like the country we defend, we share different backgrounds, different values, and different beliefs -- but together, we are the greatest military force in the world.”
Gautam Raghavan is an Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Engagement.