Jesse Garcia, former president of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, turns his back as Pastor Rick Warren delivers the invocation Tuesday morning during an Inauguration watch party at the Resource Center of Dallas.
By John Wright News Editor
It was standing room only at the Resource Center of Dallas this morning, where about 50 people gathered inside the Blue Room for an Inauguration watch party hosted by the Resource Center, Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, and LULAC Chapter 4871-the Dallas Rainbow Council.
The crowd snacked on refreshments, heckled when President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney appeared on screen, debated the actual color of First Lady Michelle Obamaâ€™s dress, and erupted in cheers and hugs when Obama took the oath of office.
Many of those in attendance said they took off from work to watch the Inauguration.
â€œItâ€™s a wonderful day,â€ said Michael Moon, a former Stonewall president who attended the gathering at the Resource Center. â€œThe dreamâ€™s not realized, but the doorâ€™s open. Heâ€™s [Obamaâ€™s] got a hard job ahead of him. Hopefully he can stand up to it.â€
Stonewall Democrats President Erin Moore and former President Jesse Garcia were among a handful of people who turned their backs when evangelical minister Rick Warren delivered the invocation.
Obama has been criticized by many in the LGBT community for his selection of Warren, an outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage whoâ€™s compared homosexuality to incest and pedophilia.
â€œItâ€™s better than me yelling at him,â€ Moore said of her decision to turn her back.
Moore also said she was also â€œvery sorryâ€ that an invocation by openly gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson wasnâ€™t aired on HBO during its coverage of a pre-Inauguration concert Sunday at the Lincoln Memorial. The selection of Robinson to deliver the invocation at the concert was seen as an olive branch to the LGBT community in the wake of the Warren flap, but it’s unclear why the gay bishopâ€™s remarks werenâ€™t televised.
In any case, Moore said her enthusiasm about the Inauguration wasnâ€™t dampened.
â€œTodayâ€™s about Obama,â€ said Moore, who was in the minority in the LGBT community that supported Obama in the Democratic Primary. â€œItâ€™s like Christmas all over again. I almost started crying on the way over here, much less watching anything.”
Garcia, who opted against traveling to Washington for the Inauguration, said he was thankful for the opportunity to watch it with his â€œfamily.”
Garcia said he became politically active around the same time that President Bush took office in 2001.
â€œAfter eight years of trying to organize communities and register voters, we finally see a Democrat back in the White House,â€ Garcia said. â€œThis community needs to rejoice. This is a man whoâ€™s going to get us there.
“For the last eight years, gays and Hispanics have been put on the back burner,” said Garcia, who also heads the Rainbow Council, Dallas’ gay LULAC chapter. “It’s a new day for both communities.”
The RCD crowd erupts after Obama takes the oath of office.
Michael Moon, former president of Stonewall Democrats, hugs Al Daniels, a longtime member of the group.
Omar Narvaez, membership director for Stonewall Democrats, adds a message to an Inauguration banner.