election | For an inaugural address, President Obama’s speech today was striking because it was unapologetically liberal and unusually direct.
The President’s social agenda left no doubt about his definition of equality today. In the first explicit call for gay rights in inaugural history, Obama linked marriage equality to the civil rights movement, suggesting a moral connection between the battles in Selma and Stonewall.
“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 words were politically unthinkable for every other incoming President in history. Just eight years ago today, a re-elected president was sworn in after running on a proposal to amend the Constitution to ban gay marriage. But we needn’t go back that far. In 2009, a new President was elected with the same core position, opposing gay marriage as a legal right.