From President Barack H. Obama’s 2013 Inaugural Address:
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.
It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. 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. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm.
We LGBT folk and our straight allies understand all too well what President Obama meant today when speaking in reference to the Declaration of Independence’s promise of Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness: “History tells us that while these truths are self-evident, they are not self-executing“.
We’ve worked for and earned every shred of social dignity and legal equality that we’ve attained thus far. Part of that effort has been dedicated to electing legislators and a president who value America’s shared promise of equality.
Remember where we were just 8 short years ago, and what the Republican party offered the nation — and the nation rejected — this past election. What a difference a president makes:
President George W. Bush (2004):
Today, I call upon the Congress to promptly pass and to send to the states for ratification an amendment to our Constitution defining and protecting marriage as a union of a man and woman as husband and wife.