(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) released the following statement in recognition of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTQ+) Pride Month, commemorated during the month of June:
"This Pride Month, we honor LGBTQ+ Americans whose courage and patriotism have transformed America. I’m a proud member of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus and remain an unshakeable ally of the LGBTQ+ community, which has struggled against pervasive legal and social discrimination and continues to fight for equal rights in the workplace and in every domain of social life.
“I’m honored to represent the 8th Congressional District of Maryland, home to a diverse and robust LGBTQ+ community. In 2012, it was my honor to lead the floor fight in the State Senate for marriage equality; we became the first state in the nation to pass marriage equality without being told we had to do so by our state Supreme Court, the first state south of the Mason-Dixon line to pass it, and then the first to defend same-sex marriage on the ballot.
“In 2013, Jim Obergefell married his dying partner John Arthur on the tarmac of BWI-Thurgood Marshall Airport because they could not get married in their home state of Ohio. The refusal of their home state to honor their marriage in Maryland led to the historic Supreme Court decision sweeping away marriage discrimination. I am proud of the role our state played.
“In 2015, millions rejoiced over the Court’s landmark decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage across the land. We owe a great debt to Mr. Obergefell, the late Mr. Arthur, and countless others who are the quiet conquerors of our nation’s ugly history of denying basic rights to individuals based on nothing more than who they love.
“Last year--during Pride Month--we witnessed with shock and horror the massacre of 49 Americans at the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, FL. In the last few weeks, we turned our eyes toward Chechnya as we learned of the Russian government’s human rights violations committed against gay men--wrongfully tortured, jailed, and killed. Not even halfway through 2017, the number of transgender Americans murdered has already reached double digits. We mourn this cruel and senseless loss.
“Pride Month is marked with the pain of these events and others, but we will endure. Let us remember we are the heirs to the great civilizing movements of the last century--from civil rights to women’s rights to the organizing movement for LGBTQ+ rights--and we’re not turning back.
“We will not back down from demanding inclusivity, equal rights and protection, respect, and dignity for the LGBT community. I remain committed to working with my colleagues to push equality forward--that’s why I joined 194 House colleagues in cosponsoring the Equality Act (H.R. 2282), a bipartisan bill to provide all LGBT Americans comprehensive federal protection against discrimination. I urge all to join us in this important struggle.
Congressman Jamie Raskin represents Maryland’s 8th Congressional District, which includes Montgomery, Frederick, and Carroll counties. He is the Vice Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, a Senior Democratic Whip, and Freshman Representative to the House Democratic Steering & Policy Committee. He also serves on the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee and the Committee on House Administration.