by Rex Wockner -
SGN Contributing Writer
Dick Cheney endorses same-sex marriage
Former Vice President Dick Cheney came out in support of same-sex marriage June 1 more clearly than he has in the past.
Asked about the issue at the National Press Club, Cheney responded: "I think freedom means freedom for everyone. And, as many of you know, one of my daughters is Gay, and it's something that we've lived with for a long time in our family. I think people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish, any kind of arrangement they wish. The question of whether or not there ought to be a federal statute that governs this, I don't support. I do believe that historically the way marriage has been regulated is at the state level - this has always been a state issue - and I think that's the way it ought to be handled today, that is, on a state-by-state basis. Different states will make different decisions. But I don't have any problem with that. I think people ought to get a shot at that. And they do at present."
Cheney has made very similar comments before, but they did not go quite as far.
In 2004, for example, he said: "I believe today that freedom does mean freedom for everybody. People ought to be free to choose any arrangement they want. It's really no one else's business. That's a separate question from the issue of whether or not government should sanction or approve or give some sort of authorization, if you will, to these relationships. Traditionally, that's been an issue for the states. States have regulated marriage, if you will. That would be my preference. In effect, what's happened is that in recent months, especially in Massachusetts, but also in California, but in Massachusetts we had the Massachusetts Supreme Court direct the state of - the legislature of Massachusetts to modify their constitution to allow Gay marriage. And the fact is that the president felt that it was important to make it clear that that's the wrong way to go, as far as he's concerned. Now, he sets the policy for this administration, and I support the president."
Obama issues pride month proclamation
President Barack Obama issued a lengthy proclamation June 1 for "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, 2009."
It says, in part: "Forty years ago, patrons and supporters of the Stonewall Inn in New York City resisted police harassment that had become all too common for members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community. Out of this resistance, the LGBT rights movement in America was born. During LGBT Pride Month, we commemorate the events of June 1969 and commit to achieving equal justice under law for LGBT Americans. ...
"My administration has partnered with the LGBT community to advance a wide range of initiatives. At the international level, I have joined efforts at the United Nations to decriminalize homosexuality around the world. Here at home, I continue to support measures to bring the full spectrum of equal rights to LGBT Americans. These measures include enhancing hate crimes laws, supporting civil unions and Federal rights for LGBT couples, outlawing discrimination in the workplace, ensuring adoption rights, and ending the existing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy in a way that strengthens our Armed Forces and our national security. We must also commit ourselves to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic by both reducing the number of HIV infections and providing care and support services to people living with HIV/AIDS across the United States. ...
"During LGBT Pride Month, I call upon the LGBT community, the Congress, and the American people to work together to promote equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
"NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2009 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to turn back discrimination and prejudice everywhere it exists."
Hillary Clinton issues pride month statement
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a Gay-pride month statement June 1.
She wrote: "Forty years ago this month, the Gay rights movement began with the Stonewall riots in New York City, as Gays and Lesbians demanded an end to the persecution they had long endured. Now, after decades of hard work, the fight has grown into a global movement to achieve a world in which all people live free from violence and fear, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
"In honor of Gay and Lesbian Pride Month and on behalf of the State Department, I extend our appreciation to the global LGBT community for its courage and determination during the past 40 years, and I offer our support for the significant work that still lies ahead.
"At the State Department and throughout the Administration, we are grateful for our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender employees in Washington and around the world. They and their families make many sacrifices to serve our nation. Their contributions are vital to our efforts to establish stability, prosperity and peace worldwide.
"Human rights are at the heart of those efforts. Gays and Lesbians in many parts of the world live under constant threat of arrest, violence, even torture. The persecution of Gays and Lesbians is a violation of human rights and an affront to human decency, and it must end. As Secretary of State, I will advance a comprehensive human rights agenda that includes the elimination of violence and discrimination against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
"Though the road to full equality for LGBT Americans is long, the example set by those fighting for equal rights in the United States gives hope to men and women around the world who yearn for a better future for themselves and their loved ones.
"This June, let us recommit ourselves to achieving a world in which all people can live in safety and freedom, no matter who they are or whom they love."
Clinton also is preparing to grant spousal benefits and protections to diplomats' Gay partners, she said in a recent letter to the group Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies.
The package will include medical and emergency evacuation, travel reimbursement, shipment of household effects, use of U.S. government medical facilities abroad, issuance of diplomatic passports, visa assistance, and security and language training.
Not included are health insurance, retirement benefits and certain other perks.
With assistance from Bill Kelley
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