Monday, June 15, 2009

John Berry: Hate Crimes May Pass Next Week

The highest ranking LGBT official in the Obama administration told The Advocate Sunday that Hate Crimes might pass next week and that President Obama was soon to announce an initiative regarding equalizing protections and benefits for LGBT employees.

By Kerry Eleveld, The Advocate's Washington Correspondent

John Berry, the highest ranking LGBT official in the Obama administration, announced at Washington D.C.’s Capital Pride Festival Sunday that the Obama administration hopes to secure passage of Hate Crimes this coming week and that President Obama is soon to announce an initiative pertaining to providing federal LGBT employees with benefits equivalent to those provided to their heterosexual counterparts. He also said the administration fully intends to pass an employment nondiscrimination bill, repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell” and overturn the Defense of Marriage Act “before the sun sets on this administration.”

Before Berry, who is director of the Office of Personnel Management overseeing 1.9 million federal workers, made the announcement, he spoke to The Advocate exclusively, saying that he wanted to “download” a few thoughts about the administration’s intentions vis-à-vis LGBT issues.

The backstage exchange took place in a brief window before Berry took the stage at Capital Pride and seemed to be prompted by growing discontent in the community following the Justice Department’s decision to defend the Defense of Marriage Act. Berry also denied reports that any sort of “deal” had been cut by White House officials regarding LGBT legislation and when it would be accomplished.

Berry's comments to the Advocate: http://www.advocate.coyahm/exclusive_detail_ektid90371.asp

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