In Conjunction With Pride Month, Durbin Delivers Opening Statement At Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing On Defending The Rights Of LGBTQ+ Americans

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today delivered an opening statement at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing entitled, “Protecting Pride: Defending the Civil Rights of LGBTQ+ Americans.”  The hearing will celebrate historic progress made in protecting the rights of LGBTQ+ Americans.  It will also serve as a call to remain steadfast in defending these rights against a tidal wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation being introduced across the country, particularly targeting transgender youth.

Key Durbin quotes:

“In just a relatively short time, a few decades, our nation has made remarkable progress in protecting the rights of LGBTQ+ Americans.  Eight years ago this month, for instance, [the Supreme Court decided] Obergefell v. Hodges, which made marriage equality the law of the land.  And last year, on a bipartisan basis, Congress codified those protections into law with the Respect for Marriage Act.”

“While Pride month is an opportunity to celebrate these milestones, today we remember that Pride began with an act of resistance.”

“Back in 1970, the first-ever Pride parade was organized to mark the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising.  It was a protest led by gay, transgender, and gender non-conforming Americans who refused to accept an unjust system of laws and united together to change not just America, but to change the world.” 

“Today, we draw from that spirit to unite together in acknowledging and defending the rights of LGBTQ+ Americans.  Because right now, extremist politicians across America are targeting our LGBTQ+ youth—along with the medical professionals who care for them and the parents who love them.”

“Since the start of this year, our nation has seen a wave of anti-LGBTQ+ bills.  More than 525 have been introduced in 41 states—many of them specifically targeting our transgender youth.”

“At the same time, leaders on the far-right are promoting anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric.  During this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference one speaker was applauded when he declared that, ‘transgenderism must be eradicated.’” 

“We must reject this divisive and hateful rhetoric.  And at this point, I would like to remind our colleagues: our children are listening, and they are in danger.  In fact, today, transgender youth are among the most at risk of homelessness, depression, and death by suicide.” 

“We have a responsibility to support all of our children, no matter how they identify.”

“My hope is that this hearing will be a chance to share the stories and reveal the truth: that like the rest of the LGBTQ+ community, transgender Americans are our neighbors, our colleagues, our fellow citizens.  They have the same hopes and dreams that all of us share.”

“LGBTQ+ Americans are asking for no more—and no less—than the full freedom to live as who they are.”

Video of Durbin’s opening statement is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s opening statement is available here. 

Footage of Durbin’s opening statement is available here for TV Stations.