Joanna Walters “Obama declares Stonewall Inn the first national monument to LGBT rights” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/24/obama-announces-stonewall-inn-national-monument
“The riots became protests, the protests became a movement, the movement ultimately became an integral part of America,” Obama said in a voiceover to a video released on Friday that includes the faces and voices of activists from both the Stonewall era and today.
He declared Stonewall the newest addition to the National Park system, which “should reflect the full story of our country. That we are stronger together,” he said.
The tiny public garden opposite the Stonewall Inn, Christopher Park, has been officially declared part of the site of the new national monument, which also covers the surrounding streets and the bar itself, which has been protected and preserved as a National Historic Landmark since 2000.
Obama issued a statement on Friday describing the park as “a place for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community to assemble for marches and parades, expressions of grief and anger, and celebrations of victory and joy”.
“It played a key role in the events often referred to as the Stonewall Uprising or Rebellion,” he added.
A statement from the White House on Friday included a prominent reminder that Obama had paid tribute to the gay rights movement alongside the fight for women’s suffrage and the civil rights movement for racial equality, when he mentioned Stonewall during his inaugural address in 2013.
“From major legislative achievements to historic court victories to important policy changes, the president has fought to promote the equal rights of all Americans – no matter who they are or who they love,” Friday’s statement continued.
However, Obama equivocated about the issue of same-sex marriage for years before finally coming out publicly in support in 2012*2.
And when the supreme court made same sex marriage legal across the nation this time last year, the White House was illuminated in the rainbow colors associated with the gay equality movement and pride parades the world over*5.
*1:See also Joanna Walters “Stonewall Inn regulars applaud Obama amid monument plans: 'It's about time'” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/08/stonewall-inn-customers-barack-obama-monument-riots-1969
*2:See Nancy Goldstein “Barack Obama's real record on LGBT rights” https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/jun/23/gay-rights-barack-obama Ewen MacAskill and Adam Gabbatt “Barack Obama speaks out and declares support for same-sex marriage” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/may/09/barack-obama-supports-gay-marriage http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20110224/1298560444 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20131020/1382242882
*3:See Karen McVeigh and Paul Harris “US military lifts ban on openly gay troops” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/sep/20/us-military-lifts-ban-gay-troops
*4:See Dan Roberts and Amanda Holpuch “Doma defeated on historic day for gay rights in US” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/26/supreme-court-doma-prop-8-rulings
*5:See Dan Roberts and Sabrina Siddiqui “Gay marriage declared legal across the US in historic supreme court ruling” https://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jun/26/gay-marriage-legal-supreme-court