On Tuesday, President Obama declared June as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) month. Obama has issued similar proclamations in prior years by issuing the proclamation each year he has been in office.
Obama wasn’t the first president to issue a proclamation recognizing the LGBT community. Former President Bill Clinton issued the first one in June of 1999.
The proclamation reads in part, “The story of America’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community is the story of our fathers and sons, our mothers and daughters, and our friends and neighbors who continue the task of making our country a more perfect Union. It is a story about the struggle to realize the great American promise that all people can live with dignity and fairness under the law.”
According to a recent study released in April of this year by Dr. Gary Gates and The Williams Institute, an arm of the UCLA School of Law, “An estimated 3.5 percent of adults in the United States identify themselves as lesbian, gay, or bisexual and an estimated 0.3 percent of adults as transgender.”
The report went on to conclude that approximately 9 million Americans identify themselves as LGBT, “a figure roughly equivalent to the population of New Jersey,” according to the study. Many religious and family groups have challenged high estimates of the gay population, especially as portrayed in the media, saying such numbers are inflated and inaccurate.
In his proclamation, the president highlighted the 30th anniversary of HIV/AIDS epidemic by challenging the LGBT community to recommit to raising awareness about the disease.
Obama also mentioned his repeal of the “don ask, don’t tell” policy by saying, “With this repeal, gay and lesbian Americans will be able to serve openly in our Armed Forces for he first time in our Nation’s history. Our national security will be strengthened and the heroic contributions these Americans make to our military, and have made throughout our history, will be fully recognized.”
Ashley Horne, federal policy analyst for Focus on the family expressed the group’s frustration with the president’s actions, saying, “To the detriment of the family, President Obama continues to affirm the homosexual lifestyle by issuing this proclamation each year.”
Horne went on to say, “It’s clear the president's goal of wanting to affirm homosexuality in our culture is a top priority for the administration. While we’re not surprised by his actions, we simply see it as another reminder of his commitment to redefine marriage outside of one man and one woman."
According to recent Gallup polls, more than half (56 percent) of Americans say gay or lesbian relations is morally acceptable and 40 percent believe being gay is "something a person is born with." Support for homosexuality has also hit a record high this year with 64 percent of Americans saying gay or lesbian relations between consenting adults should be legal.