United States Attorney John E. Kuhn, Jr. Delivers Remarks At Annual Pride Festival
Remarks as prepared for delivery
Thank you, Greg [Fischer], for that kind introduction and your dedication to equal rights, equal justice, fairness and inclusiveness.
I cannot begin to express how much it means to me to be with all of you here today. I do wish we stood here together in a spirit of undiminished, unalloyed, pure celebration. This past year was marked with important milestones, not the least of which was a milestone Supreme Court decision announced exactly one week after last year’s Pride Festival, a decision that finally secured freedom and equality in marriage for all of us. I wish – with all my heart – I wish that our hearts today were full of nothing but joy and pride.
Tragically that is not the case. Today we reel from the unconscionable terrorist attack on the innocents at the Pulse club in Orlando. Our hearts ache with the weight of the unfathomable losses of our brothers and sisters.
I am here today to tell you that my office – the United States Attorney’s Office – and the Department of Justice stand with you in support and commiseration. The Attorney General of the United States has asked U.S. Attorneys all over the country to speak to you. And because I cannot improve upon the remarks of Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, I will share them with you. She said:
“Words cannot express the depth of our sorrow or the measure of our grief for all those whom we lost and all those whose lives have been changed forever. What happened in Orlando . . . was a horrifying act of evil and of terror. For the LGBT community, Pulse was more than a place to celebrate and see friends. It was a place that promised safety, inclusion and the freedom for people to be themselves – the same promise our country has made to all of us. This was an attack on that promise. It was an attack on our values, on our country and on our national community. It was an attack on who we are as a nation and as a people. And our country as a whole stands united in its response to this cowardly and despicable act.”
So let me say this. You have much to be proud of. Even in the shadow of this darkness and evil, the future is bright with promise for you. I pledge to you we will continue our fight together for universal equality, for acceptance, inclusion, freedom and security. We must continue on, together. Stronger. Brave. Unbowed. More determined than ever. And as we fight, let us always remain the force that you have been all along: a force of peace, courage, hope and love.