“The fact remains that across the country far too many LBGT Americans suffer discrimination each and every day,” Holder said. “That’s why the department will keep working to create opportunity and access for every individual. That’s why this will continue to be a priority for this department as long as I have the privilege of being Attorney General.”Holder also mentioned two imminent U.S. Supreme Court decisions involving the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s voter-approved Proposition 8, both of which define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
“There are, as we all know, two important decisions the Supreme Court must render in the coming days,” Holder said.
“Though we hope that the results of these cases are consistent with the core values that serve as the foundation of our great nation, the work that lies before us today will not be completed by favorable opinions.”
Holder said regardless of how the cases are decided, “we must recommit ourselves to the work that… will remain undone. We have traveled far together on the road to true equality and non-discrimination. But we are not yet at the end of our journey. There are still miles to go, children to be treasured, people to be protected, and rights to be ensured. Important, life-changing work remains.”
Holder touted the DOJ’s efforts to increase the number of LGBT people working at the agency.
“The department is really working to recruit, to hire, to develop and to retain and support a workforce that reflects the rich diversity of the nation we are all privileged to serve. We’re expanding programs for promoting fairness, equality, and opportunity for every member of the DOJ family, which today includes an increasing number of openly gay and lesbian U.S. attorneys, senior department leaders, U.S. marshals, and career employees.”
Guest speakers at the DOJ Pride event were Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), the first lesbian to serve in the Senate; and singer-songwriter and lesbian activist Melissa Etheridge.
Baldwin said she is one of seven “openly gay” people serving in the United States Congress today. Etheridge has had two partners who collectively had four children through the use of sperm donors, including two children fathered by rock musician David Crosby.