TULSA - Barack Obama made history Monday, using the inaugural platform to address the rights of gays and lesbians in America.
"Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law," he said. "For if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well."
Those were the first words spoken on the issue by a president on Inauguration Day, and they have Tulsa-area lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender supporters very happy.
"We deserve the same respect and dignity that you grant anyone else," said Gloria Galasso. "I think the president made that very clear today and I was very grateful to him for that."
Toby Jenkins, the executive director for Oklahomans for Equality and the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center, says Obama's statements prove he is ready to lead.
Jenkins believes the equality issue extends beyond just same-sex marriage.
"Housing, employment, access to education and public services are still problems across the United States," he said."
President Obama also mentioned the 1969 Stonewall Inn riots, which are credited with helping find the modern-day gay rights movement.
"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," he said.
Galasso said those words instantly brought her hope.
"When he mentioned Seneca Falls, which was women's rights, and Selma, which was black rights, and then Stonewall, which was gay rights, in the same sentence, I couldn't have been prouder and I couldn't have been more thrilled," she said.
The next major step in the gay-rights movement could come in March when the Supreme Court will take up the issue of gay marriage.
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