DOJ Pride commemorates the five-year anniversary of the signing of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
The Shepard/Byrd law greatly expanded the federal government’s ability to prosecute hate crimes and marked the first time that the words “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender” appeared in the U.S. Code. After singing the Act, President Obama noted that those who fought for the law “understand that the rights afforded every citizen under our Constitution mean nothing if we do not protect those rights—both from unjust laws and violent acts.”
The Board of Directors of DOJ Pride would like to acknowledge the continued dedication of those of its members—as well as many others at the Department—who work to prevent and respond to hate crimes. Five years later, their contributions have helped make America a more affirming and peaceful place and remind LGBT Americans that the government really does care. As the President acknowledged upon signing the Act, “no one in America should ever be afraid to walk down the street holding the hands of the person they love.”
DOJ Pride wishes a huge congratulations to our current President, John Elias, as well as Civil Rights Division attorney Alexandra Shandell, for being named to the National LGBT Bar’s Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40 – Class of 2014. We wish both of them continued professional success.
LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, AND TRANSGENDER PRIDE MONTH, 2014
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BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
As progress spreads from State to State, as justice is delivered in the courtroom, and as more of our fellow Americans are treated with dignity and respect — our Nation becomes not only more accepting, but more equal as well. During Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, we celebrate victories that have affirmed freedom and fairness, and we recommit ourselves to completing the work that remains.
Last year, supporters of equality celebrated the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act, a ruling which, at long last, gave loving, committed families the respect and legal protections they deserve. In keeping with this decision, my Administration is extending family and spousal benefits — from immigration benefits to military family benefits — to legally married same-sex couples.
My Administration proudly stands alongside all those who fight for LGBT rights. Here at home, we have strengthened laws against violence toward LGBT Americans, taken action to prevent bullying and harassment, and prohibited discrimination in housing and hospitals. Despite this progress, LGBT workers in too many States can be fired just because of their sexual orientation or gender identity; I continue to call on the Congress to correct this injustice by passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. And in the years ahead, we will remain dedicated to addressing health disparities within the LGBT community by implementing the Affordable Care Act and the National HIV/AIDS Strategy — which focuses on improving care while decreasing HIV transmission rates among communities most at risk.
Our commitment to advancing equality for the LGBT community extends far beyond our borders. In many places around the globe, LGBT people face persecution, arrest, or even state-sponsored execution. This is unacceptable. The United States calls on every nation to join us in defending the universal human rights of our LGBT brothers and sisters.
This month, as we mark 45 years since the patrons of the Stonewall Inn defied an unjust policy and awakened a nascent movement, let us honor every brave leader who stood up, sat in, and came out, as well as the allies who supported them along the way. Following their example, let each of us speak for tolerance, justice, and dignity — because if hearts and minds continue to change over time, laws will too.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2014 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.
DOJ Pride is pleased to welcome Chris Johnson, Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade, for a brown bag lunch. Johnson has covered a cast array of LGBT political and legal developments, including the lead up to the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the marriage cases. He routinely poses tough questions at White House press briefings, and after the Blade became the first LGBT publication to join the White House pool, Johnson began shadowing President Obama on a rotating basis to produce the pool report. He is a member of the White House Correspondents’ Association. His archive at the Blade is here: http://www.washingtonblade.com/author/chris-johnson/
The Blade is the oldest LGBT newspaper in the United States and second largest by circulation, behind Gay City News of New York City. The Blade is often referred to as America’s gay newspaper of record because it chronicled LGBT news locally, nationally, and internationally. The New York Times said the Blade is considered “one of the most influential publications written for a gay audience.”
When: Tuesday, May 20, noon-1pm
Where: The Andretta Room (Room 1101) of the RFK Main Justice Building
Call in information is available.
Following a meeting of the Board the new officers and 2013-2014 Board are:
DOJ Pride Officers 2013-2014
President: John Elias
Vice President: Melissa Schraibman
Treasurer: Chrys Kefalas
Secretary: Barbara Schwabauer
Civil Rights Division
Other Board Members:
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Bureau of Prisons
Justice Management Division
Office of Attorney Recruitment and Management
Congratulations to everyone!
The Board of DOJ Pride sent a letter to the Attorney General regarding progress on Benefits Equity for DOJ Employees and steps that he can take to make the Department of Justice a more inclusive and equitable working environment for all employees.
Read the letter here: DOJ Pride letter to AG (march 2013)