'Hallowed ground’: President Biden designates Pulse nightclub as national memorial

President Joe Biden is celebrating Pride Month at the White House, a reflection of the growing stature of the LGBTQ community at the highest level of government. 

Biden said Friday that Pride Month stands for courage, justice, and love. He was joined by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the first openly gay person confirmed to a Cabinet post in U.S. history. Buttigieg said, "Us even being here proves how much change is possible in America." 

PULSE REMEMBRANCE: FOX 35 Coverage of the fifth anniversary of the nightclub shooting

Biden took the opportunity to sign into law a measure designating the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando as a national memorial. 

A mass shooting at the gay nightclub in June 2016 left 49 people dead and 53 wounded in what was the deadliest attack on the LGBTQ community in U.S. history.

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Biden said in a statement that he has "stayed in touch with families of the victims and with the survivors who have turned their pain into purpose" and described the club as "hallowed ground."

The president was joined on Friday by Florida lawmakers, survivors of the Pulse shooting, and family members of victims. 

Watch FOX 35 Orlando for the latest Central Florida news.