Obama Acknowledges Gay Marriage and Rights in Inaugural Speech, First US President [VIDEO]
Jan 21, 2013 04:46 PM EST
(Photo : REUTERS/Jason Reed )
President Barack Obama noted "our gay brothers and sisters" for the first time and their struggle for civil rights in his inaugural speech on Monday, making him the first president to cite the LGBT community during the keynote presidential address.
"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.
During the last year, the president has said he personally supports gay marriage but that the issue needs to be decided on a state by state basis. Currently, nine states authorize same-sex marriages, 41 do not.
Obama also mentioned the word Stonewall when citing milestones of the civil right struggle. It was a reference to a riot and subsequent protests over a police raid in June 1969 of the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City's Greenwich Village.
"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," Obama said.
Obama also mentioned upcoming arguments before the Supreme Court, which will take up two cases dealing with gay marriage. The justices will hear arguments March 26-27 on legal challenges to the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8.
Public opinion polls show attitudes have changed. A Gallup Poll last year found 50% of Americans say marriage between same-sex couples should be valid, compared with 27% who said so in 1996. A Pew Research Center survey taken in December found more support (48%) than opposition (43%) for same-sex marriage.