Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. told a packed auditorium of gay-rights attorneys Tuesday that they should celebrate their recent victories — but get ready for more work and "sacrifice."
Among the outstanding issues are ensuring that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are not discriminated against in the workplace and that people with HIV/AIDS have health care.
Mr. Holder also took a rhetorical swipe at the Boy Scouts of America — now led by former Defense Secretary Robert H. Gates, — which doesn't permit openly gay adults to be volunteers, leaders or employees.
The continuation of a policy that excludes gay adult leaders "only preserves and perpetuates" the worst of stereotypes, Mr. Holder told the 14th Annual Lambda Legal Reception, held at Carnegie Institution for Science.
Referring to the demise of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, Mr. Holder said courageous LGBT individuals in the military inspire, protect and defend Americans. "If these men and women are fit for military service, then surely they are fit to mentor, to teach, and to serve as role models for the leaders of future generations," Mr. Holder said.
In his remarks to the sold-out event, which raised at least $275,000 for Lambda Legal, Mr. Holder agreed that the last year saw great strides forward for gay marriage and LGBT equality.
Nevertheless, "positive change is not inevitable," he said, repeating the phrase for emphasis.
The audience should plan to "stand together, work together and sacrifice together" to achieve a just and equitable society, Mr. Holder said, pledging that he and his department, and President Obama and his administration, will
"not back down."
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