Today, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-Miramar) made the following statement in recognition of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month:
"I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my friends throughout the LGBT community 'Happy Pride.' This year marks the 43rd anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which gave rise to the modern LGBT rights movement in the United States and around the world. Each June, we commemorate this ongoing struggle for equality by celebrating LGBT Pride Month.
"It is indeed a historic time for our nation and the American people. From the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, to the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' to President Obama's support of marriage equality, we have made great strides in ensuring that our laws protect all Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. These advances would not have been possible without the continued courage, leadership, and sacrifices of countless individuals, LGBT and straight alike.
"As we reflect on how far we have come, we must not let the pages of history turn backwards on equality in this country. Whether accessing benefits as a committed couple, working to provide for their family, going to school, protecting our country, or growing older, all Americans deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. That is why it is critical that we move forward with repealing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), and bringing an end to other discriminatory practices such as the bullying of our youth.
"I am truly proud to recognize the countless contributions that the LGBT community has made in strengthening and enriching the fabric of our nation. While we continue to face ongoing challenges to equal rights for all Americans, let us be emboldened in our efforts, knowing that discrimination, bigotry, and hate have no place in our country's laws. This LGBT Pride Month, I reaffirm my pledge to continue working with my colleagues in Congress to achieve equal rights for all LGBT Americans."