For the second year in a row, Senators have introduced a resolution recognizing Pride month amid continued silence from the Oval Office.
Forty-eight Senators—46 Democrats and two independents—signed on to a resolution commemorating June’s significance in the struggle for queer and trans equality. In a six-page document, lawmakers claim celebrating the annual LGBTQ observance is an “opportunity for all people in the United States to learn about the discrimination and inequality that the LGBTQ community endured and continues to endure.”
Given the White House’s refusal to put out a statement honoring Pride month as it rolls back LGBTQ rights, that statement could be read as more than a bit pointed.
In June 2017, President Donald Trump broke with tradition by failing to issue an official memorandum recognizing June as LGBTQ Pride Month for the first time in eight years. Bill Clinton was the first president to formally commemorate the month in 1999, but George W. Bush declined to do so during his two terms. Barack Obama re-established the custom after taking office in 2009.
Although Trump did not put out a Pride memorandum for the second year in a row, he did find time in June 2018 to recognize African-American Music Appreciation Month, Great Outdoors Month, National Caribbean-American Heritage Month, National Homeownership Month, and Ocean Month.
Senator Tammy Baldwin, who helped co-sponsor the resolution, stressed in a statement the importance of affirming the U.S. government’s commitment to furthering equality, even as the White House ignores LGBTQ issues.
“America is right to be proud of the progress we have made to pass on to the next generation a country that is more equal, not less,” said Baldwin, who is the first and only openly LGBTQ member of the U.S. Senate. “Every June, communities across America celebrate Pride Month and this resolution recognizes the march towards full equality in our country.”
Every June, communities across America celebrate #PrideMonth and I’m proud to join my colleagues to introduce a resolution recognizing the march towards full equality. Let’s keep breaking down barriers so all Americans have the same freedom to succeed. https://t.co/OyVrmW8xiO pic.twitter.com/1HuHy7c64E
— Sen. Tammy Baldwin (@SenatorBaldwin) June 29, 2018
“We have more work to do and I believe America is ready to take the next steps forward,” she continued.
Sherrod Brown, another cosponsor of the Pride Month resolution, affirmed in a press release that Senators “must always stand with our LGBTQ friends and neighbors—not just during the month of June, but year-round.”
For the 2nd year in a row, the White House broke with tradition & failed to offer an official presidential proclamation recognizing June as Pride Month.
— Sherrod Brown (@SenSherrodBrown) June 29, 2018
Other Senators who signed onto cosponsor the resolution included Democrats Cory Booker of New Jersey, Dianne Feinstein of California, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Kamala Harris of California, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Doug Jones of Alabama, Chuck Schumer of New York, and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Both Independents in the Senate—Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine—joined them.
The only Democrat who broke with his liberal colleagues by refusing to sponsor the LGBTQ Pride Month resolution was Joseph Manchin III of West Virginia. His office was not available for comment as to the reasons for his absence from the declaration.
Senators issued the resolution concurrently with a related letter from Democrats in the Armed Services Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. Organized by Maryland Rep. Anthony Brown, liberal lawmakers demanded to know why the Pentagon is “backing away from supporting and celebrating” LGBTQ service members by refusing to issue its own memo recognizing Pride month.
Meanwhile, top leadership in the Department of Defense largely opted to skip the Pentagon’s annual Pride event this year.
“The absence of demonstrative support from DOD leadership at events like these can have the effect of isolating our LGBT service members and employees,” eight Democrats claimed in the letter sent to Defense Secretary James Mattis on Thursday.
Although Trump did not recognize Pride month, his daughter, Ivanka, tweeted in support of the LGBTQ community last June. She declined to do so this year.
Image via Getty