Toward the end of his second inaugural speech today, President Obama said that, “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… That is our generation’s task to make these words, these rights, these values of life, and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness real for every American.”
As you may have guessed, this has already drawn a big response from LGBTQ groups and leaders.
Rea Carey, Executive Director of the American pro-LGBT non-profit organization, said in a press release reacting to the speech, “We couldn’t agree more. It’s now time for the president — and for all of us — to finish the job of ensuring that every American gets a fair shake. President Obama has repeatedly shown he is willing to fight for us. We have another four years to keep the momentum going, and will be vigilant in pursuing policies to ensure our community is not left behind. This includes pushing for federal LGBT employment protections, ending the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, combating HIV/ADS, preserving a social safety net, and much more.”
We also checked in with Richard Socarides, Democratic political strategist and commentator and a New York attorney. Socarides is a former principal adviser to President Bill Clinton on gay and lesbian civil rights issues and has written extensively on political and legal topics, including for The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker and Politico.
Socarides is one of the highest ranking openly gay persons ever to serve in the federal government. He told us, “I thought it was the most important gay rights speech ever. Especially given the occasion.”
Comedian Dave Rubin, currently the host of The Six Pack, the top-downloaded LGBT podcast on iTunes, told us, “It’s great to hear and consistent with everything he’s said. Now he’s got four years to finish the job. Of course, I’d prefer a rush job where we do it in two.”
The President also referenced “Stonewall” in his speech, taking some by surprise. We contacted Heritage of Pride, the non-profit group that coordinates the yearly events in commemoration of the Stonewall Riots of 1969, the beginning of the modern Gay Rights movement.
“Linking Seneca Falls, Selma, and Stonewall clearly shows how much progress and acceptance has been achieved. Our work continues and an ally in the White House will make it a little easier to move forward,” Alan Reiff, co-Chair of Heritage of Pride told us.
We will certainly be following the LGBTQ rights action both with the upcoming Supreme Court gay marriage cases and to watch mainstream on-air news commentators attempt to explain Stonewall.