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US embassy celebrates gay pride month

() - June 5, 2010 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBT) found an unexpected ally in US Ambassador Harry Thomas at the US Embassy’s gay pride month celebration the other night. It was the first time the embassy celebrated such an occasion in the Philippines.

“Discrimination is a waste of talent,” Thomas said to hearty applause of the LGBT members gathered for cocktails at the Makati residence of Richard Nelson, counselor for public affairs of the US Embassy.

“We are pleased to be part of this wonderful occasion,” Thomas said, adding that he was disheartened to hear tales of woe and injustice committed against the LGBT community.

Nelson informed The STAR that US President Barack Obama has proclaimed June as LGBT Pride Month in the US. He said the Embassy in the Philippines decided to host the party “to show respect for the LGBT community in the Philippines and to recognize their contributions to their culture and society.”

In a White House statement distributed at the party, Obama said much work remains to be done to fulfill America’s promise of equal justice under law for LGBT Americans.

“That is why we must give committed gay couples the same rights and responsibilities afforded to any married couple, and repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. We must protect the rights of LGBT families by securing their adoption rights, ending employment discrimination, and ensuring Federal employees receive equal benefits,” Obama said in his presidential proclamation of the LGBT pride month.

Obama is also committed to create “safer schools so all our children may learn in a supportive environment. I am also committed to ending ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ so patriotic LGBT Americans can serve openly in our military.”

Among those who attended the reception were Ang Ladlad party-list founder and STAR columnist Danton Remoto and popular TV host Boy Abunda, who recently was the object of discrimination when critics dismissed him as “just an entertainer” when president-apparent Noynoy Aquino considered him as a possible undersecretary of the Department of Tourism. Abunda reportedly declined to accept the position.   

AMBASSADOR HARRY THOMAS ANG LADLAD BOY ABUNDA DANTON REMOTO DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM LGBT NOYNOY AQUINO OBAMA PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA PRIDE MONTH
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