In an address to Swedish lawmakers on
Tuesday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder highlighted the Obama
administration's support for LGBT rights.
In delivering his remarks to the
Parliament of Sweden, Holder praised Sweden as a champion of human
“As a result – especially in recent
decades – our nations have together made historic strides in the
long march toward freedom and justice for all of our citizens. And
Sweden has in many respects led the way,” Holder said.
“By passing the Discrimination Act of
2008, you've freed countless people to achieve whatever their dreams,
their talents, and their own hard work will allow – without fear of
discrimination on the basis of sex, ethnicity, religion or other
belief, disability, age, gender identity or expression, or sexual
orientation. By becoming the seventh nation in the world to extend
the right to marry to gay and lesbian couples, you've stabilized
families and expanded individual liberty.”
“Just as our forebears came together
to overcome tremendous adversity – and to forge the more just and
more equal societies in which we now live – so, too, must the
current generation rise to the causes that have become the struggles
of our day; the defining civil rights challenges of our time. I
believe one of these struggles is the fight for equality for our
lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender – or LGBT – citizens.
And that is why my colleagues and I are working alongside leaders
like you and people around the world to make a positive difference.
I am particularly impressed by the formulation that the United States
Embassy in Stockholm used as it engaged in the annual Pride festival
last July: U.S. Embassy Stockholm is 'anti-anti-gay.'”
Holder ticked off several of the Obama
administration's accomplishments related to LGBT rights, including
repeal of the military's “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” policy, passage
of gay-inclusive hate crimes legislation and adding new protections
for LGBT survivors of domestic abuse. He went on to praise June's
Supreme Court decision knocking down a key provision of the Defense
of Marriage Act (DOMA).
“And last June – in a historic
decision known as United States v. Windsor – the U.S.
Supreme Court struck down the federal government's ban on recognizing
gay couples who are legally married. This marked a major victory for
the cause of equal protection under U.S. law, and a significant step
forward for committed and loving couples throughout the country.
Today, these couples and their families are one step closer to the
equal treatment, and the full recognition, to which they, their loved
ones, and their children are entitled. And as we speak, my dedicated
colleagues – led by the Justice Department's Civil Division – are
working tirelessly to implement this ruling in both letter and spirit
– by expanding critical benefits like health insurance for federal
employees in same-sex marriages; by ensuring equal treatment under
tax and immigration laws; and by adjudicating visa applications for
same-sex married couples on the same terms as applications for
opposite-sex spouses,” Holder