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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 25, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 4
The community's response - Leading LGBTQ voices react to President Obama's inaugural address
Section One
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The community's response - Leading LGBTQ voices react to President Obama's inaugural address

(Compiled from news sources)

FREEDOM TO MARRY
'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.'

NGLTF
'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/AIDS, preserving a social safety net, and much more. America deserves nothing less than a president who will treat all families fairly. We congratulate President Obama and his administration and look forward to working with them in this second term to build a stronger future for LGBT people and opportunity for all.'

OUTSERVE-SLDN
'Today, President Obama made history with a clear and passionate declaration of the fundamental rights of LGBT Americans, and all Americans. We honor the work of his first term - especially his leadership in the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' - and expect great progress over the next four years on the very real inequalities that exist for our LGBT service members, veterans, and their families as we work together to bend the moral arc of the universe toward justice.'

FRANK BRUNI, NEW YORK TIMES OP-ED COLUMNIST
'The causes of Gay Americans and Black Americans haven't always existed in perfect harmony, and that context is critical for appreciating Obama's reference to Stonewall alongside Selma. Blacks have sometimes questioned Gays' use of 'civil rights' to describe their own movement, and have noted that the historical experiences of the two groups aren't at all identical. Obama moved beyond that, focusing on the shared aspirations of all minorities. It was a big-hearted, deliberate, compelling decision.

'He went on, seconds later, to explicitly mention 'Gay' Americans, saying a word never before uttered in inaugural remarks. What shocked me most about that was how un-shocking it was ...

'Four years ago the inaugural invocation was given by a pastor with a record of anti-Gay positions and remarks. This year, a similar assignment was withdrawn from a pastor with a comparable record, once it came to light. What's more, an openly Gay man was chosen to be the inaugural poet, and in news coverage of his biography, his parents' exile from Cuba drew more attention than his sexual orientation. That's how far we've come.'

JONATHON CAPEHART, WASHINGTON POST OP-ED COLUMNIST
'Obama has not been shy about talking inclusively about Gays and Lesbians. But his words, said with confidence and conviction from that spot on this day, go well beyond what he or any president before him has ever done. Obama listed Stonewall among this country's great social movements. And his call for marriage equality using the megaphone of an inaugural address with its global audience will be remembered as a pivotal moment in the Gay rights movement.

'The power of what Obama did today was eloquently summed up by my friend Jeffrey Martin in Illinois. 'Amazing to hear Gay people recognized so much, so clearly, so naturally throughout the ceremony,' he wrote in an e-mail. 'Amazing. I feel more fully American today. Not completely, yet, but we are moving closer.'

DAVID MIXNER, LONGTIME ACTIVIST
'He lifted us up from a contentious issue to a civil rights struggle that must be won in order for the Declaration of Independence to have meaning. He embraced our right to love and marry.

'Those who have doubts about his commitment to our epic struggle clearly don't want to hear his powerful and inclusive words that were heard in every home around the world. Most importantly, the words were heard by the United States Supreme Court Justices sitting right behind the President! ...

'Today was America's day with everyone included and no person left behind. From the struggles of young immigrants wanting an education, to women desiring equal pay for equal work, to the poor desiring income to feed their children, and to those who simply aspire to be a new greatness ... this was their day too.'

RICHARD SOCARIDES, POLITICAL STRATEGIST
'Not only was this a call to end discrimination, but an unambiguous argument for the recognition of same-sex marriage across the country. For a president who announced his support for marriage equality less than a year ago, after more reluctance (and suggestions about what could be left to the states) than many would have liked, this was a bold declaration from perhaps the boldest platform of all.'

ANDREW SULLIVAN, BLOGGER
'Obama included these references rightly in the context of other struggles. This is not about identity politics but human and civic equality that goes far beyond the Gay experience. But sometimes you have to remember how far we have come, with this man pushed relentlessly forward by our pressure and by our conversations with each other. On the weekend we celebrate the memory of the assassinated Dr. King, we also re-elect the country's Black president, who also happens to be finally embracing the civil rights cause of his time and ours.

'So forgive me genuflecting a little before this moment - but I didn't think I'd ever live to see it. I didn't just see it, but heard and felt it - and saw in this morning and early afternoon a tableau of democratic diversity that was indeed, to my mind, a city on a hill, deeply shifting, in its symbolism and multicultural dynamism, the 'opinion of mankind,' and our global future.'

MICHELANGELO SIGNORILE, RADIO JOURNALIST
'There's much pressure on the president to deliver on a variety of equality issues and match his words with actions. He's still not signed an executive order that would ban federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT people. The Justice Department has not filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the Prop 8 case before the Supreme Court. The military is still not equal in the aftermath of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' repeal, with no ban on discrimination against Gays in the armed forces, and there's fear that Obama's Defense Secretary nominee, former Nebraska GOP Senator Chuck Hagel, will not take up the issue with force.

'By putting full equality and marriage rights in such a defining speech, however, and making history in the process, as the first president to refer to the struggle for Gay equality in his inaugural address, President Obama has laid out a promise in perhaps the most powerful way he could.'

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