Pelosi: As We Celebrate Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, Let Us Reaffirm Our Commitment to Equality
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today in celebration of Gay and Lesbian Pride Month and this weekend's San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Pride Celebration.
"At this time every year, we celebrate the contributions of the LGBT community in San Francisco and our victories in securing basic rights for all. But is also an opportunity to remember the battles we still have to fight, and honor those we have lost.
"Through the effective advocacy of the LGBT community, California has made enormous strides in equality and advancing the rights for everyone. Last year, the California legislature became the first in the nation to pass legislation supporting equal rights for lesbian and gay couples who want to enter into the civil institution of marriage, while reaffirming that no religious institution would ever be required to solemnize marriages contrary to its fundamental beliefs.
"Unfortunately, on the national level, we are facing an assault on our Constitution. Serious work remains to achieve equality for LGBT individuals and protect the rights of all Americans. The Republican leadership in Washington is taking America in the wrong direction, trying to distract and divide with the mean-spirited and politically-motivated Federal Marriage Amendment that would enshrine discrimination into our Constitution. Congress should be debating the urgent priorities of the American people that today remain unmet.
"Earlier this month, the U.S. Senate voted to reject the Federal Marriage Amendment. Once again, I will make it my personal responsibility to defeat it when it comes to the House floor.
"Just this week, we learned that a current Pentagon document classifies homosexuality as a mental disorder, more than 30 years after the mental health community rejected that misguided position. I am proud to cosponsor the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, introduced by Congressman Marty Meehan of Massachusetts, which would repeal the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban and replace it with a policy of non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Passage of this measure would acknowledge the tens of thousands of lesbian, gay and bisexual service members who serve honorably in our military, and allow them to do so openly.
"This year also marks the 25th anniversary of the first AIDS diagnosis in San Francisco. In the early days of the AIDS epidemic, San Francisco experienced much of the suffering yet we seized an opportunity to be a model for America - and eventually the world - for leadership, for community-based solutions, and for intervention.
"It is with great pride that I have made fighting AIDS a priority while serving in Congress - whether sewing quilt panels with Cleve Jones, working with Steve Morin and others to create the Ryan White Care Act and Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS, designating the AIDS Grove a National Memorial, or working to double funding for the National Institutes of Health.
"San Francisco has a proud history of advocacy for equal rights for lesbians and gays. As we celebrate our pride this year, let us reaffirm our commitment to freedom for all and respect for the rights of each and every individual. As House Democratic Leader, I promise to continue to fight by your side for non-discrimination and other protections for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community."