President Obama calls for the freedom to marry in second inaugural address
January 22, 2013
Yesterday, at the 57th inauguration of the President of the United States, Barack Obama took the oath of office for his second term as the president. In his address, he reaffirmed his commitment to the freedom to marry, becoming the first president ever to do so in an inaugural address - and the first president to ever make direct reference to gay and lesbian Americans.
In his speech, President Obama referenced the Stonewall uprising of 1969, an iconic series of events that many in the LGBT community often cite as the beginning of respect and recognition for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people. He said:
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.
He then called for the freedom to marry for same-sex couples, saying:
It is now our generation's task to carry on what those pioneers began. ... 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.
Freedom to Marry's founder and president Evan Wolfson applauded President Obama for his address yesterday in a statement.. He said:
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. 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.
Since May 2012, President Obama has publicly and emphatically supported ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage. He has voiced his personal opinion that same-sex couples should be able to marry, stated his opposition to the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal respect for legally married same-sex coupels, and he has endorsed state campaigns to win marriage in Maine, Maryland, Washington, Rhode Island, and his home state of Illinois.