Warm greetings to everyong taking part in the 1998 Gay and Lesbian Pride Celebration.
As Americans, we can be proud of our diversity. Striving together, people of different ethnicities, backgrounds, races, beliefs, and sexual orientation have contributed to the success of our nation, reflecting the profound truth that this rich diversity is one of our greatest strengths. But we must face the reality that sometimes our differences divide us; sometimes the voices of hatred and prejudice drown out the harmony in our national life. Events like the Pride Celebration help us to recognize anew that working in a spirit of community is not only a hope but a necessity, and that our individual dreams can only be realized by our shared efforts.
Our ideals and our history hold that the rights guaranteed us as Americans are inalienable. They are embedded in our Constitution and amplified over time by our courts and legislature, and I am bound by my oath of office and the burden of history to reaffirm them. Our nation stands to lose if we let prejudice and discrimination stifle the hopes or deny the potential of a single American. And we stand to lose when any person is denied or forced out of a job because of sexual orientation.
I commend each of you for your dedication to working for an America that celebrates our diversity, builds on our strengths, and fulfills our fundamental values of mutual respect and compassion. Working together, I am confident that we can enter the 21st century as One America.
Best wishes for a wonderful celebration.