US President, Mr. Barrack Obama, has renewed his calls for gays and lesbians to be treated “like anyone else under the law”.
As part of his inaugural address, the US leader 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,” Obama said.
The comment was likely as intended for the justices of the Supreme Court gathered on the inaugural platform as for the members of Congress who sat nearby. The court agreed last month to hear arguments on two cases involving same-sex marriage, opening the door for a ruling with sweeping implications.
Later in the speech, the president compared the struggle for immigration reform and gay rights to the civil-rights battles for gender and racial equality in the past century.
“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,” Obama said.
The Stonewall riots were sparked by police harassment at a gay bar in Greenwich Village in 1969, and are considered the precursor to the modern gay-rights movement.
Gay rights’ groups were quick to praise the president’s comments, with Evan Wolfson, the founder of pro-gay-marriage group Freedom to Marry, saying he “applauds our president and the moral leadership he has shown.”
“In his second inaugural today, President Obama traced the moral arc from Seneca Falls to Selma to Stonewall, and rightly exalted the struggle for the freedom to marry as part of America’s moral commitment to equality, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” Wolfson said in a statement.
Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said he thought it was appropriate that Obama discussed gay marriage moments after having taken the oath of office on Bibles belonging to Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr.
“By lifting up the lives of LGBT families for the very first time in an inaugural address, President Obama sent a clear message to LGBT young people from the Gulf Coast to the Rocky Mountains that this country’s leaders will fight for them until equality is the law of the land,” Griffin said in a statement.
African-American leaders also praised the discussion of same-sex marriage within the umbrella of an overarching push for civil rights. The Rev. Jesse Jackson said that “in the American tent, all are welcome.”