Activists Applaud Gay Rights Inclusion in Inaugural Address
LGBT activists welcomed President Barack Obama’s historic speech given Monday, Jan. 21, in which he became the first President ever to reference Stonewall and gay rights in an inaugural address. Many saw it as a civil rights watershed along with key moments in the struggles for blacks and women.
In his speech, Obama said, "Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law -- for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well."
The president then asserted that the truth that all are created equal guides us today "just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall."
Evan Wolfson, president and founder of Freedom to Marry, emphasized the president’s "moral arc" from Seneca Falls (home of the woman’s suffrage movement), to Selma (the black civil rights struggle) and then pointedly including Stonewall, the Greenwich Village bar where three nights of protest in 1969 ignited the modern gay rights movement.
Obama "rightly exalted the struggle for the freedom to marry as part of America’s moral commitment to equality, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," said Wolfson in a statement. "Freedom to Marry applauds our president and the moral leadership he has shown, the moral leadership we will continue to need until all Americans, all loving couples, all families, can share fully in the American promise we celebrate on Inauguration Day."
OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson, herself an Army veteran, praised Obama’s "clear and passionate declaration of the fundamental rights of LGBT Americans, and all Americans," said Robinson, who, in a statement, noted the work of his first term, "especially his leadership in the repeal of ’Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’"