The Stonewall Inn in New York — birthplace of the modern gay rights movement — is now a national monument, President Obama announced today (Friday, June 24).
That makes the Stonewall National Monument in New York City the first addition to the country’s national parks system specifically highlighting the history of the LGBT community, according to reports by NPR News.
NPR notes: “The monument covers nearly eight acres in New York’s Greenwich Village including a landmark gay bar, the Stonewall Inn. In June of 1969, gay patrons at the bar fought back against police persecution — an event that’s widely seen as a watershed in the campaign for LGBT rights.”
The Stonewall Riots are the reason that we celebrate June as National Gay Pride Month each year. The first “gay Pride parade” was held a year later to commemorate the riots.
In announcing the designation, President Obama said: “Raids like these were nothing new, but this time the patrons had had enough. So they stood up and spoke out. The riots became protests. The protests became a movement. The movement ultimately became an integral part of America.”
Watch the video of the president’s announcement below.
LGBT Equality Day
In related news, U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-WI, and Congresswoman Suzan DelBene, D-WA, this week introduced a resolution to designate June 26, as “LGBT Equality Day,” honoring the anniversary of three significant victories won at the U.S. Supreme Court for the LGBT community.
The resolution points to the courts decisions in: Lawrence v. Texas, handed down June 26, 2003, overturning the Texas sodomy laws and others like it around the country; United States v. Windsor, handed down June 26, 2013, overturning Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act and requiring the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages performed in jurisdictions where those marriages were legally recognized; and Obergefell v. Hodges, handed down June 26, 2015, mandating marriage equality nationwide.
“America should celebrate the progress we have made to pass on to the next generation a country that is more equal, not less equal,” said Baldwin, the first open lesbian elected to the U.S. Senate. “But we cannot mistake our progress for victory. We have more work to do in the march for fairness, freedom and full equality for the LGBT community. I believe America is ready to take the next steps forward and together we will break down barriers so that every American has an equal opportunity to dream the same dreams, chase the same ambitions, and have the same shot at success.”
DelBene added, “In the last two decades, our nation has seen the Defense of Marriage Act overturned, an end to the criminalization of same-sex conduct and now nationwide marriage equality — all through Supreme Court decisions handed down on June 26. But even as same-sex couples enjoy the right to marry in all 50 states, LGBT people continue to face violence, inequality and discrimination simply for who they are and who they love.
“Our resolution designates the 26th of June as ‘LGBT Equality Day’ not only to celebrate how far we’ve come, but also to acknowledge how much work remains to be done,” she added.
The resolution is co-sponsored by more than 175 members of Congress and is supported by the Center for American Progress, the Human Rights Campaign, the National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund and the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus.