Wednesday, June 19, 2013


LGBT Pride Observances At State & Justice Departments
WASHINGTON -- The U. S. Department of Justice celebrated LGBT Pride Tuesday with speeches from U. S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Wisconsin Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin- the first openly gay member of the Senate- and singer-songwriter and LGBTQ activist Melissa Etheridge.
The theme for this year's pride according to, the official site for LGBT Employees at the department was "A Year of Firsts."
In his speech, the attorney general paid tribute to the DOJ Pride staffers and then Holder welcomed Senator Baldwin and Etheridge to the celebration. Holder addressed the DOJ's significant accomplishments as he spoke;
"As we reflect upon the theme for today’s event, “Celebrating a Year of Firsts,” and await the Supreme Court’s decisions later this month, on the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 cases – it’s fitting that we pause to highlight the achievements of a few of the key leaders who have made possible so many of our recent steps forward. 
Holder stressed that he wanted DOJ employees to maintain their dedication to the ongoing efforts of the Justice Department;
"We have traveled far together on the road to true equality and non-discrimination.  But we are not yet at the end of our journey. There are still miles to go, children to be treasured, people to be protected, and rights to be ensured. Important, life-changing work remains."
On Wednesday, U. S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke at the annual Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies (GLIFAA) Pride Event;
[...] But as we are learning even today, as we look at various places in the world where homophobia raises its ugly and frightened head, we see that there is fear and that a lot is driven by fear – always has been – not always with respect to LGBT issues, but with respect to people generally, with respect to race and religion. 
And this is an ongoing battle for all of us, and believe me, not just for us; it is an ongoing battle in hidden parts of this planet, in dark corners where there is no light, where people are thrown into jail, or worse, beaten brutally, tortured and even murdered because of who they are or what they believe."
The event at the State Department's main office complex in Northwest Washington was also attended by Judy and Dennis Shepard, the parents of murdered University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard, who went on to found a non-profit foundation bearing their son's name and rose to prominence as LGBTQ equality rights advocates.
Secretary Kerry Kerry noted their presence;
"I remind everybody that it is amazing to think, but it has been nearly 15 years since we mourned the tragic murder of their son, Matthew. And I can remember very clearly meeting them previously and speaking to the crowd gathered on the National Mall in front of the Capitol building at a vigil that was held two nights after he was killed. 
Thousands of people came together to share their grief, but also to share their sense of outrage that such an act could be carried out, such a senseless, violent, terrible heartbreak. 
And we were all standing with Judy and Dennis on that dark night, and frankly, since then, they have helped to lead the way through darkness and into the light, and they've turned their pain and their loss into a remarkable global message of hope and of tolerance. So, Judy and Dennis, make no mistake: You really do inspire us and we are very honored to have you here with us today. Thank you."
Kerry finished his remarks outlining that more progress needed to be made globally for LGBT equality rights cautioning that in parts of the world there was still the danger of violence against the LGBTQ community particularly against transgender persons in Latin America and Asia. Kerry noted;
"So we are committed to seeing more LGBT persons in senior positions in this Department. And I ask for your input and all of your ideas, so that in the coming days I can sit down and work with our team here to ensure that the Department is properly resourcing and prioritizing our international efforts for the next generation of LGBT progress."


Desmond Rutherford said...

The great truth, in reality is that Matthew should never have been the sacrifice necessary to awaken the masses to the abominable treatment of so many LGBTQ people.

Others, like Harvey Milk and Mayor
George Moscone, should never have been the targets of assassination, and still yet others, too numerous to mention, should never feel that their only option is to deprive themselves of life.

No one should ever feel less because of whom they love, and the marriage of consenting lovers should never be denied by popular vote or because someone has been taught to claim that a god does not approve.

Never again should we condemn others for whom they love, and the best way to ensure that is to work for the recognition of the equality of human relationships, regardless of gender.

To do less is to limit our own humanity.