Obama’s Big Gay-Friendly Inauguration Day

President Obama’s inauguration was groundbreaking for a number of reasons, not least of which for its explicit mentions of the LGBT community. Here are three key moments from Monday’s events that were in themselves little pieces of history.


1) Richard Blanco’s Moving Poem

Poet Richard Blanco was ticking boxes all over the place on Monday when he became the youngest ever poet to deliver an inauguration poem, as well as the first openly gay person and the first Hispanic person to recite verse at a POTUS inauguration event. It wasn’t just Blanco’s personal identity that made his appearance at the inauguration particularly remarkable, however. It was the breadth of the poem he delivered that spoke to the idea of equality for all that conjured a tone that seemed to permeate the entire event.

Watch it now:

You can read the full text of the poem here.

2) Rev. Luis Leon Delivers Gay-Inclusive Benediction

After the controversy surrounding Rev. Louie Giglio, the original man of faith lined up to give the benediction who stepped down after fierce protest over an anti-gay sermon he made in the 90s that he has so far refused to denounce, it was refreshing to hear Giglio’s replacement Reverend Luis Leon deliver a sermon that specifically made mention of gay people.

Beyond just that affirmation, a first for any inaugural benediction, Leon’s benediction also gave a voice to the vast majority of moderate Christians who value the LGBT people in their lives and do not think of them as sinful. For this reason, Reverend Luis’ gay-inclusive benediction was doubly powerful in this regard.

Said Leon:

We pray for your blessing because without it, we will see only what the eye can see. But with the blessing of your blessing we will see that we are created in your image, whether brown, black or white, male or female, first generation or immigrant American, or daughter of the American Revolution, gay or straight, rich or poor.

See it now:

3) President Obama Delivers a Gay Inclusive Inauguration Address

For the first time for any U.S. President, Obama made a specific mention of gay equality and, indeed, marriage equality in his inauguration address. Said Obama:

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.

President Obama also slipped in a mention of the Stonewall riots, the 1969 action at the Stonewall Inn in New York City that saw gay people rise up in a flash point that kindled the concerted efforts of a once disparate community to come together and demand their rights, setting it within the wider context of the civil 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.

Relive the inauguration address below:


This gay inclusive inauguration comes as the Supreme Court of the United States prepares to hear in March several marriage equality cases; the Court may consider the weight of public opinion, and in so doing President Obama’s second inauguration may feature as a landmark that shows in no uncertain terms that the majority of the American people consider gay inclusion absolutely non-negotiable when considering the ideal of equality.


Related Reading:

Tea Party Activists Scheme to Block Obama Inauguration

BREAKING: President Barack Obama Re-Elected

John Kennedy, Barack Obama: 2 Inaugurations and 2 Generations


Image credit: Thinkstock.


Benny Rees
Benny R5 years ago

Although I am Czech, and not an American, I am so grateful Obama got re-elected. It shows victory for common-sense politics, trying to find consensus, trying to resolve differences by openly discussing them instead of automatic threats and sabre-rattling.

To GOP at Capitol Hill - please stop filibustering and generally behaving like selfish three-year-olds, and start listening to Obama. Start putting everyday interests of vast majority of American people above your narrow party-political interest. The goal should be "let's make America/world a better place" instead of "let's keep tripping Obama up again and again". Thank you.

Christine Jones
Christine J5 years ago

I think he's quite brave to speak his mind.

Winn Adams
Winn A5 years ago

Noted - yippee

Danuta Watola
Danuta W5 years ago

thanks for sharing

Lynn D.
Lynn D5 years ago


Serenity Garcia
Serenity Garcia5 years ago

Monumental. So much pride for this cause. What a great day.

Dragos V.
Mike Piercer5 years ago

This is the Petition to top to ban on LGBT's in Russia: http://www.yousign.org/en/LGBT

tiffany t.
tiffany t5 years ago

stars to Marilyn L and John B, cannot send you more than one a week, sheesh!
Kudos to you both! Love the comments and the good you do being here on Care2

tiffany t.
tiffany t5 years ago

I watched the entire inauguration on PPS, I also had my four year old daughter watching it with me, explaining why certain aspects were so important. I wept with joy during most of the speeches. Myrlie Evers-Williams speech was important as well, Her husband was gunned down in their driveway in 1963 and she continued his activism all these years. I have numerous friends in same sex relationships, some with small children as well, I know my daughter does not see any difference between 2 moms, 2 dads, or 1 mom 1 dad, what was shocking to her is that some children only have 1 mom, 1 dad, or 0 parents. I am proud of the fact she is blind to bigotry. She will stand up for people, she already proved it getting in trouble in preschool with an over Religious teacher telling her that children cannot have 2 moms or 2 dads living in the same house. I had to explain to the teacher that we have friends, so yes they can, and no she cannot argue with a four year old, she was being prejudice and non christian. well that was the end of that : ) Some times living in the bible belt drives me insane!

Pamela H.
Pamela H5 years ago