Opening Reception of Prague Pride Festival Remarks
As Prepared for Delivery
August 13, 2012
The Residence of the Mayor of Prague,
Mariánské náměstí 1, Prague 1
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. I first want to express my deep honor and pleasure at being here. I especially want to thank the Lord Mayor for hosting this reception and recognize him for his leadership in once again lending his auspices and providing his support to the Prague Pride events.
I would like to greet you on behalf of ten other Ambassadors who signed a Joint Statement Expressing Support for the 2012 Prague Pride Festival and many others who support the festival in other ways and fight for LGBT and human rights in general.
One of the many reasons why relations between the Czech Republic and the United States have flourished over the past century is because of our countries’ shared values regarding human rights. Given this history, we are particularly drawn to the challenge of advancing the protection of human rights. Today, as we continue our efforts to develop and improve our societies, we recognize that one of the leading human rights challenges is the protection of the rights of LGBT persons around the world.
These are difficult issues for many societies and individuals. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has acknowledged, “the obstacles standing in the way of protecting the human rights of LGBT people rest on deeply held personal, political, cultural, and religious beliefs.” In parts of my own country, until 2003, certain conduct by gay people was a crime. Many LGBT Americans have endured violence and harassment for years and confronted bullying and exclusion on a daily basis. So we, like all nations, have more work to do to protect human rights at home.
I am truly honored to be here today representing the United States and President Obama in the effort to ensure the rights of the global LGBT community. To LGBT men and women here today and elsewhere, let me say: People all around the globe, in cities like Prague and Washington D.C., are working hard right now to bring attention to these issues. You have an ally in me, in President Obama and in the United States of America.
I salute the hard work of the organizers of this week’s Prague Pride events and of all those throughout the Czech Republic who are working in support of LGBT rights. Thank you again for allowing me and the American people to be a partner in these efforts.