Monday, January 21, 2013

How Obama Made His Second Inaugural Address A Landmark Moment For LGBT Equality

President Obama just concluded what was arguably the most inclusive inaugural address ever delivered by any president. Of particular note was his inclusion of a direct call for marriage equality for gays and lesbians, reflecting the milestone from last May when he became the first president of the United States to ever make such an endorsement:

We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.

It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. 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. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm.

As the first inaugural address to ever highlight the struggle for LGBT equality and the lives and families of gays and lesbians, this speech will no doubt be recorded in the annals of history as a pivotal moment in the long journey for social justice and freedom from oppression.

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