When Vice President Kamala Harris hosted the inaugural Pride Month reception at her residence on Tuesday evening, she created history. Queer people and friends were welcome in her residence at the Naval Observatory in northwest Washington, D.C.
At the closed press event, about 190 LGBTQ+ activists, leaders, and allies attended, including Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the first out gay cabinet member; Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, the first Native American cabinet secretary; and Jessica Stern, the State Department’s special envoy for LGBTQ+ rights.
The State Department’s Special Envoy for Lgbtq+ Rights
It was a celebration of equality for LGBTQ+ persons and a call to action following the Supreme Court’s ruling on Roe v. Wade last week. By becoming the first sitting vice president to speak at an LGBTQ+ Pride Festival, Harris and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff made history this month.
Last year, she became the first American vice president to participate in an LGBTQ+ pride march. Due to the fact that Emhoff is leading a presidential delegation to the inauguration of Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. on Thursday, he was unable to attend Tuesday’s event.
Celebrity drag queen Shangela opened the show as Olivia Pope from ABC’s political drama Scandal, which starred Kerry Washington as Pope.
“When I got the phone for the office of the VP, and they said ‘Shangela,’ and I replied, ‘What?’ and they said, ‘Shangela, would you like to handle the welcome for the evening?'” she stated in the swimming pool area of the mansion, per the AP. So I ran over to my closet and pulled out my white suit (with my white hat) and assured them, “It’s all taken care of!”
The energized audience laughed heartily. It was in 2019 that Shangela taught then-Sen. Harris how to properly clack a fan at the Abbey, an LGBT pub in Los Angeles.
An anniversary party for a couple in attendance was a night to remember. Sandy Stier and Kris Perry are trailblazers in the struggle for marriage equality in the United States. In 2013, they prevailed in a landmark Supreme Court decision that invalidated California’s Proposition 8 ballot initiative. It was exactly nine years ago that Harris married the two of them, to the day. Before speaking to the crowd, the vice president was presented by her husband and wife.
Attorney General of California Harris refused to defend a constitutional amendment that outlawed same-sex weddings, which ultimately led to a Supreme Court finding against the proponents and supporting the lower court’s decision that the measure was unconstitutional. Following the Supreme Court’s decision, Harris and her team marched to City Hall in San Francisco to celebrate the historic moment for equality and conduct marriages. As Harris said, “The next thing you know, the place was overflowing with individuals who were in ecstasy.” He was beaming as he spoke about it. Prior to the celebration, Stier and Perry gave an interview to The Advocate in which they discussed the significance of the moment.
“The beautiful thing about today is that Vice President Harris wedded us, the first same-sex couple to get married in California, on the Harvey Milk balcony at San Francisco City Hall,” Perry remarked.
“That day will be imprinted in our recollections for the rest of our lives for a variety of reasons. To commemorate Pride and our tenth anniversary, we’ll be going to the vice president’s mansion tonight, where she personally officiated our wedding, which was a momentous occasion in and of itself. When the Supreme Court of the United States struck down an anti-discrimination law in our state, she did not defend it as a political leader,” she said.
Since the Supreme Court recently overturned Roe v. Wade in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization
Since the Supreme Court recently overturned Roe v. Wade in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Perry said that celebrating their anniversary with Vice President Biden was especially meaningful given that a handful of justices had just stripped Americans of rights they assumed were protected.
“Leaders like Vice President Harris will have to maintain defending legislation and finding innovative ways to safeguard fundamental rights over time,” said she. In other words, all civil rights.
Righteousness ran through Harris’ comments. In order to defend the rights of American citizens, she urged Democrats to do their part.
Supreme Court is destroying fundamental norms and principles, including the right to privacy, we will not be deterred
“When the Supreme Court is destroying fundamental norms and principles, including the right to privacy, we will not be deterred because we know that it is our job, our objective, and our joy to stand with Pride and to fight to retain these rights.”
Rights for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities have been a priority for this government from the start. On his first day in office, President Joe Biden signed an executive order that prohibits discrimination against LGBTQ+ Americans. According to the executive order, federal agencies are now required to enforce civil rights laws to prevent discrimination in the workplace on the basis of sexual orientation. Proposals to improve Title IX protections for transgender students were made public by the administration last week.
As Harris noted, “We recognize the power of what we’ve won and the fight for equality, but we also recognize the fragility of these victories, and so we know what we must do to be watchful and safeguard [those rights]” when celebrating Pride.
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