Norm Kent

A Moment in History

Filed By Norm Kent | January 28, 2013 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Inauguration Day, inauguration speech, LGBT rights, President Obama, Selma and Stonewall

The record will reflect that the inaugural address of President Barack Obama on January 21, 2013 was only 20 minutes long, but its reach and breadth will forever be recorded centuries hence inauguration.jpegin the history of gay and lesbian America.

Equating the human rights of gay and lesbians in the same breath as that of women and African Americans was a statement of incalculable magnitude and astounding fortitude. In front of the justices who will in two months vote on the issue of gay marriage, the President said we are all brothers and sisters.

Linking Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall, Barack Obama brought tears to my eyes and a cheer to my heart. It was an astounding and long overdue recognition, from the leader of the free world, that we matter, we count, we care. Yes, and we bleed and cry too.

Our President spoke to the emerging majority in America, a true melting pot of diversity, from Hispanics to immigrants to the LGBT community. He reminded of us the victories we have won with the sword, and the disgrace we have absorbed with the lash. Most of all, Obama reminded the world that 'we, the people' are ultimately the governors of our country, the creators of our destiny, and the champions of our freedom.

For any of you that dared to vote for Mitt Romney, ask yourself whether you would have heard those words from the podium of the nation's Capitol on January 21, 2013, had he won the election for the presidency in November.

For all of us that embraced Obama, we can find comfort and grace that he has embraced us back, from his call for universal equality to his selection of a gay Latin American poet to close out the inaugural ceremony.

For all of gay and lesbian America, this was a defining moment in history that will survive us all. It invites us to go back to those dark nights when our lives were closeted and closed from public view. It is testimony to pioneers no longer with us, from Leonard Matlovich to Pedro Zamora to Frank Kameny. It is a tribute to all those who have had the courage to help pave the path and make this day happen.

It is a tribute to gay and lesbian Americans who understood that for all the risks, coming out of the closet and defining our lives was the proud and proper thing to do. The courage it may have taken, the pain you may have endured has been tempered and tamed by the recognition we were right and our cause was just, our claim universal. By doing so, one day and one person at a time, we have set forth a powerful wave that has rippled the tides of history and fate in our favor for now and forevermore.

For millions of Americans, being who you are became a lot easier yesterday. We have been formally asked to bask in the glow of freedom we were always entitled to. A rainbow came to Washington, D.C., and it has illuminated our lives and this country for eternity.

It was the greatest inaugural address of our lifetimes, and I dare say, for many to come.


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