Obama encourages Pride celebrants to work for progressive causes

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The president and first lady celebrate LGBT Pride on June 30.

President Barack Obama, with the first lady by his side, encouraged those gathered for the White House's LGBT Pride celebration to work for other progressive causes.

The president praised those assembled at the White House for June 30 for their passion and drive for equal rights for LGBT people.

He said there still is work to be done, and promised to do his part, including asking his staff to prepare two executive orders intended to protect some LGBT employees left unprotected by the GOP-controlled House. One executive order would prohibit federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Another executive order would prohibit discrimination in the federal government on the basis of gender identity.

The president, in his brief remarks, then urged Pride celebrants to continue to work for LGBT equality, and to also work to further other progressive causes.

"And I would also ask all of us to direct some of the energy and passion and resources of this movement towards other injustices that exist," he said. "Because one of the things that I think we should have learned — Dr. King said an 'injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.'  And that means that we’ve got to be able to set up a community that extends beyond our own particular narrow interests; we’ve got to make sure that we’re reaching out to others who need our help as well.

"And that means fighting for poor kids. And it means fighting for workers to get a decent wage. It means showing compassion for the undocumented worker who is contributing to our society and just wants a chance to come out of the shadows. It means fighting for equal pay for equal work. It means standing up for sexual — standing up against sexual violence wherever it occurs.  It means trying to eliminate any vestige of racial or religious discrimination and anti-Semitism wherever it happens.

"That’s how we continue our nation’s march towards justice and equality.  That’s how we build a more perfect union –- a country where no matter what you look like, where you come from, what your last name is, who you love, you’ve got a chance to make it if you try.  You guys have shown what can happen when people of goodwill organize and stand up for what’s right."

Just before the Pride celebration, the president delivered remarks in which he said he would not stand by and do nothing to reform the immigration system.

"Our country and our economy would be stronger today if House Republicans had allowed a simple yes-or-no vote on this bill or, for that matter, any bill. They'd be following the will of the majority of the American people, who support reform. And instead they've proven again and again that they're unwilling to stand up to the tea party in order to do what's best for the country," the president in remarks made mid-afternoon in the Rose Garden.

Soon after, he was in the East Room celebrating Pride with dozens of invited guests.

"You guys have shown what can happen when people of goodwill organize and stand up for what’s right," the president said. "And we’ve got to make sure that that’s not applied just one place, in one circumstance, in one time. That’s part of the journey that makes America the greatest country on Earth."

Labor Secretary Tom Perez attended the event, along with other top officials in the administration, several federal judges, several mayors and legislators.

The White House served wine, Champagne, beef sandwiches and desserts, including chocolate-covered lollipops adorned with pink bows.

Earlier in June, Obama issued a Pride proclamation. He has issued one each of his years in the White House. Bill Clinton also issued Pride proclamations. George W. Bush did not and instead worked with cabinet members in his administration to block Pride celebrations in the federal government.

The Pride celebration was streamed live from whitehouse.gov.