President Barack Obama recognized June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender, or LGBT, pride month Monday. In a presidential statement he marked the anniversary of the LGBT pride movement and added that the government will "commit to achieving equal justice under law for LGBT Americans."
LGBT issues, specifically same sex marriage, have dominated the news lately as controversy over the issue sparked demonstrations.
In May the California Supreme Court upheld the ban on same-sex marriage enacted under Proposition 8. The controversial ballot measure passed by a 52-48 margin in November, ending a brief period from May to November 2008 when same sex marriage was legal in California.
Demonstrations against the court's decision not to overturn Proposition 8 were held around the country.
That same month, Maine became the fifth state to allow gay marriages. As the fourth state in New England to allow same-sex marriages, Maine follows Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Meanwhile, legislation is pending in New Jersey, Rhode Island, and New York.
The fifth state to recognize gay marriage is Iowa, which is doing so purely on a court ordered basis.
New York State Governor David Paterson proposed legislation in April that would grant same-sex couples the same legal recognition afforded to partners of the opposite sex. The bill would amend the Domestic Relations Law to give same-sex couples the opportunity to enter into civil marriages.
Obama skirted the issue in his announcement, although he noted that he is the first President to appoint openly LGBT candidates to Senate-confirmed positions in the first 100 days of an Administration.
Instead, he stressed an end to harassment, and "supporting civil unions."
"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," Obama said.
"I continue to support measures to bring the full spectrum of equal rights to LGBT Americans," he added. "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."
by RTT Staff Writer
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