Posted by: JanF | June 28, 2012

Why I Vote For Democrats: LGBT Rights

June 28th is the 43rd anniversary of the Stonewall Riots which marked the beginning of the Gay Rights Movement in America. It is appropriate to take time today, and during the waning days of Pride Month, to celebrate the Obama Administration’s unwavering commitment to LGBT rights.

President Obama speaking about LGBT rights

Our president, speaking about the fight for LGBT rights:

“When I am president of the United States, gays and lesbians will have someone who will fight for equal rights for them because they are our brothers and they are our sisters.”

And his Secretary of Defense, speaking to service members about Pride Month. Yes, the Pentagon (the Pentagon!) celebrating the rights of gay and lesbian Americans who can now serve openly in the military:

Panetta Salutes Gay, Lesbian Service Members’ Dedicated Duty

SECRETARY LEON PANETTA: As we recognize Pride month, I want to personally thank all of our gay and lesbian service members, LGBT civilians, and their families for their dedicated service to our country.

Before the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” you faithfully served your country with professionalism and courage. And just like your fellow service members, you put your country before yourself.

And now — after repeal, you can be proud of serving your country, and be proud of who you are when in uniform.

The pursuit of equality is fundamental to the American story. The successful repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” proved to the Nation 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.

It also reminds us that integrity and respect remain the cornerstones of our military culture. The Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force implemented the repeal with a focus on respect and individual dignity.

As Secretary of Defense, I am very proud of how we implemented repeal. Going forward, I remain committed to removing as many barriers as possible to make America’s military a model of equal opportunity, to ensure all who are qualified can serve in America’s military, and to give every man and woman in uniform the opportunity to rise to their highest potential.

Diversity is one of our greatest strengths. During Pride month — and every month — let us celebrate our rich diversity and renew our enduring commitment to equality for all.

Gay Troops Get `Surreal’ Chance to Celebrate at Pentagon:

Army Nurse Corps Captain Angela Shrader sat with her arm around her female partner of 20 years in a Pentagon auditorium and marveled at the occasion.

“In my lifetime, I never thought this would happen,” said Shrader, 47. who has served in the military for 13 years. “To be able to come dressed in my uniform with my partner and be open, I can’t tell you how excited and proud I am.”

Mullen To Headline Event Celebrating DADT Repeal

The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, the organization which fought against the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy for years, is hosting an event celebrating the repeal of the law headlined by former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen. The event, “Celebrating Our Heroes,” will be held on the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City on Sept. 18, days ahead of the anniversary of the Sept. 20 repeal.

What does Progress for the LGBT Community under President Obama look like?

Click here for larger view of that poster.

Three years ago, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was the law of the land, and the words “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender” appeared nowhere in the federal register.

Today, gay and lesbian men and women can serve their country without hiding who they are. The Obama administration has declared the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, and the President is working to make our schools safer for LGBT youth.

As we celebrate three years of progress for LGBT Americans under President Obama — and work toward another four — here’s a look at how far we’ve come since the President took office.

Supporting civil rights for all Americans … another reason I Vote For Democrats and why you should too.