Shaheen, Hassan Join Bicameral Letter Urging Trump to Protect LGBT RightsJune 19, 2017
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined a group of seventy-two Members of Congress in writing President Trump expressing dismay at his Administration’s failure to recognize LGBT Pride Month and to share broad concerns regarding efforts to turn back the clock on LGBT rights. This lapse marks a break in long-running precedent of White House recognition of LGBT rights during the month of June, and follows a series of harmful policy decisions that have adversely affected the LGBT community.
“The White House’s decision to remain silent about Pride Month after eight consecutive years of presidential recognition sends a troubling message to the LGBT community that your administration is not committed to advancing equality for all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity,” the Members wrote. “We urge you to honor your campaign promise to be a ‘real friend’ of the LGBT community by issuing a proclamations and supporting lasting change and progress through policies that advance LGBT rights.”
The full text of today’s letter to President Trump is copied below. The letter signed by Members of the Senate is available here. The letter signed by Members of the House of Representatives is available here.
President Donald Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear President Trump,
We write to express our dismay that you have broken with tradition and failed to issue a proclamation commemorating June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month this year. This silence comes amidst a series of policy decisions made by your administration that have hurt the LGBT community. While Pride Month celebrations will continue across the country and the world even without a presidential proclamation, the White House’s decision to remain silent about Pride Month after eight consecutive years of presidential recognition sends a troubling message to the LGBT community that your administration is not committed to advancing equality for all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. We urge you to honor your campaign promise to be a “real friend” of the LGBT community by issuing a proclamation and supporting lasting change and progress through policies that advance LGBT rights.
As you may know, President Clinton issued the first presidential proclamation to designate June as LGBT Pride Month in 1999, commemorating the 40th anniversary of the uprising at Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York City—one of the starting points of the modern LGBT rights movement in the United States. President Obama continued this tradition, issuing a proclamation for LGBT Pride Month every year he was in office. You have issued many proclamations so far in your presidency—just last month, you honored minority communities by continuing the traditions of proclaiming May as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and Jewish American Heritage Month. Unfortunately, this month, LGBT Pride Month has been omitted from your list, even while executive departments and agencies like the State Department and the Department of Defense have issued statements commemorating Pride Month. We note that you have issued proclamations designating June 2017 as National Homeownership Month, National Ocean Month, African-American Music Appreciation Month, and Great Outdoors Month.
While we are dismayed by this slight, our more fundamental worry is that you and your administration have embraced policies that threaten to turn the clock back on LGBT rights in this country. These have included withdrawing the Department of Justice from at least one LGBT-related court case, issuing an anti-LGBT executive order purporting to protect religious freedom, and rescinding guidance clarifying protections for transgender students. We urge you to fulfill the promise of equal rights for all Americans by supporting policies and legislation that would advance LGBT equality. The Equality Act, for example, would bring our country closer to that promise. We would welcome your support for this and several other long-overdue measures. Let us work together to develop laws that protect the rights of every American.
In his final proclamation for LGBT Pride Month last year, President Obama stated, “LGBT individuals deserve to know their country stands beside them.” Issuing a presidential proclamation for LGBT Pride Month has been one important way that the White House has demonstrated support for LGBT individuals, but policies and laws can also make a tangible difference in LGBT individuals’ lives. As we reflect on the progress our country has made so far, we urge you to show your support for LGBT Americans by issuing a presidential proclamation for LGBT Pride Month and advancing proposals that ensure equality for all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
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