Holder, Kerry honor LGBT staffers at pride events at Justice, State departments


WASHINGTON — The U.S. Departments of Justice at State celebrated LGBT pride this week, with events attended by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of State John Kerry, respectively.

At the Justice Department, Holder paid tribute on Tuesday to LGBT staff members, and was joined by U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, the first openly LGBT U.S. Senator, and singer-songwriter and LGBT activist Melissa Etheridge.

“As we reflect upon the theme for today’s event, ‘Celebrating a Year of Firsts,’ and await the Supreme Court’s decisions later this month on the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 cases – it’s fitting that we pause to highlight the achievements of a few of the key leaders who have made possible so many of our recent steps forward,” said Holder, in his remarks.

“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,” said Holder.

At the State Department, Kerry spoke Wednesday at the annual Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies (GLIFAA) Pride Event.

“[W]e have a moral obligation to stand in pride with LGBT individuals and advocates. We have a moral obligation to decry the marginalization and persecution of LGBT persons. And we have a moral obligation to promote societies that are more just, more fair, and tolerant. It is the right thing to do,” said Kerry.

Kerry noted that more progress needed to be achieved globally for LGBT rights, cautioning that in many parts of the world there was still the danger of violence against the LGBT community, particularly against transgender persons in Latin America and Asia.

The State Department event was also attended by Judy and Dennis Shepard, the parents of murdered University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard, who later founded the Matthew Shepard Foundation to advocate for LGBT rights through education and outreach.

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