February 15, 2013 – President Obama awards the 2012 Presidential Citizens Medal to PFLAG founder Jeanne Manford
This morning at the White House, President Obama awarded the 2012 Presidential Citizens Medal to PFLAG founder Jeanne Manford. Mrs. Manford’s daughter, Suzanne Swan, accepted the award on behalf of her mother, who passed away last month, at the age of 92.
“When Jeanne Manford learned that her son Morty had been badly beaten up at a gay rights demonstration, nobody would have faulted her for bringing him home, holding him close, and just focusing on her child,” said President Obama. “But instead…she took to the streets with a simple message: No matter who her son was, no matter who he loved, she loved him.”
The President personally selected Mrs. Manford as one of the 18 recipients of the medal, which is the second-highest civilian award in our country, and recognizes individuals “whose service has had a sustained impact on others’ lives and provided inspiration for others to serve.” Today’s ceremony marks only the second time an individual has been honored for advancing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights.
Upon the presentation of the medal to Suzanne, the President’s military aid announced,
“For insisting that equality knows no bounds of sexual orientation or gender identity, the United States honors Jeanne Manford.”
This is an extraordinary and unprecedented honor for Jeanne Manford, her family, and PFLAG members and supporters everywhere. The message is powerful: the voices of parents, family members, friends, and straight allies, united with the voice of LGBT people, is critical to the advancement of acceptance and equality.
And that love always wins.
November 7, 2012 – PFLAG National statement on the re-election of Barack Obama
PFLAG National—the nation’s original family and ally organization, and the largest grassroots-based non-profit for families, friends, and allies of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people—issued the following statement today from Executive Director Jody M. Huckaby:
“It is a new day in America. The myth that being an ally to the LGBT community or being an openly gay elected official will hurt you politically has been proven to be just that: a myth. The narrative that every time marriage equality has been—wrongly—put to a popular vote it loses was proven to be fiction in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and, with cautious optimism, Washington.
We are elated and we celebrate the power of grassroots organizing and the countless people who worked so hard to achieve these victories. The family and ally voice is what made the difference and it will be what continues to make the difference moving forward.
But as we celebrate, our membership of parents, families, friends and allies of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people—and LGBT people themselves—in all fifty states, in all types of communities and from every faith background , are acutely aware of how much more work lies ahead.
We know this because, despite last night’s watershed victory for LGBT equality, there are still people in many communities who will celebrate quietly because they still are not free to be themselves. In too many places in America, an LGBT person will still experience discrimination in their place of employment, a child will still awake with dread at the thought of being bullied in their school, and a loving same-sex couple hoping to become parents through adoption will never be given that opportunity. And although same-sex couples across the country woke up elated, ready to plan their weddings, that joy was tinged by the fact that their marriage still would not have the same federal legal protections or benefits as that of a straight couple.
We call on the President and his Administration to continue the important work of creating a fair and equal country for Americans, including LGBT Americans. And we call on the incoming Congress specifically to advance the Respect for Marriage Act which would repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, to advance federal protections against discrimination in the workplace, to create safer school environments for all children to receive a quality education, and to ensure that every child has the opportunity to be raised in a loving home, including the homes of LGBT people.
Let’s keep moving equality forward…and continuing to make history.”