Housing and Urban Development Secretary
Shaun Donovan on Friday said that gay rights are a priority for
President Barack Obama.
Donovan made his remarks during the
White House LGBT Conference on Housing and Homelessness, which took
place at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.
“President Obama views the fight for
LGBT equality not as an issue, but as a priority,” Donovan
Examples of this, Donovan said, can be
found in the president's support for repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't
Tell,” a record number of openly gay administration appointments,
passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes
Prevention Act, and a memorandum signed by the president allowing
hospital patients to designate visitors regardless of sexual
orientation or gender identity.
Donovan also announced that a new
anti-discrimination rule had gone into effect.
The rule, which bars owners and
operators of HUD-funded or -financed housing from inquiring about an
applicant's sexual orientation or gender identity, was first
announced in January.
“Just over a month ago, I was proud
to stand before the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's Creating
Change conference to announce a new Equal Access to Housing Rule that
says clearly and unequivocally that LGBT individuals and couples have
the right to live where they choose.”
“And today, I'm just as proud to tell
all of you that the rule is now final – and officially went into
effect this week,” he added. “This is an idea whose time has