Obama Calls for Gay Rights, Marriage in Inaugural Address

Obama Calls for Gay Equality in Inaugural

Obama Calls for Gay Equality in Inaugural

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Jan. 21 2013 1:18 PM

President Obama Makes History by Calling for Gay Equality in Inaugural Address

President Obama called for gay rights during his inaugural address

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

If there is one thing President Obama’s address will be remembered for is that it likely marked the first time gay rights were mentioned in an inaugural. His sweeping rhetoric from four years ago may have been missing, but Obama didn’t mince words when it came to calling for equality for gay and lesbian Americans. Although Obama had already made it clear he was in favor of marriage equality, he suggested he would fight for it during his second term.

"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. (Watch video after the jump.)


He didn’t stop there. Obama also made a reference to the Stonewall riots, linking them to other civil rights battles, and, ultimately, to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:

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.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.