Political News

Obama names Stonewall national monument; 1st for gay rights

Posted June 24, 2016
Updated June 25, 2016

— President Barack Obama created the first national monument to gay rights on Friday, designating the site of the Stonewall riots in Manhattan where the modern gay rights movement took root nearly five decades ago.

The Stonewall National Monument will be anchored by Christopher Park, a small park just across from the iconic Stonewall Inn tavern, and covers a 7.7 acre swath of Greenwhich Village where the uprising took place after police raided the gay bar in 1969. Obama said the monument would "tell the story of our struggle for LGBT rights" and of a civil rights movement that became a part of America.

"I believe our national parks should reflect the full story of our country: the richness and diversity and uniquely American spirit that has always defined us," Obama said. "That we are stronger together, that out of many, we are one."

In the GOP's weekly response to Obama's address, North Carolina Senator Richard Burr talked about the threats the country is facing and the need for a campaign against ISIS.

"We have not effectively brought the collective strength of America to the fight against ISIL," Burr said. "The (Obama) administration has paid lip service to the threat and has taken small steps in some areas and not in others. But it has not directed the full capabilities of this great nation against this problem."

To herald the Stonewall designation, a White House video with photos of the monument was to be played at noon Saturday on the billboards in Times Square just as New York's annual pride celebration is getting under way, the White House said. The declaration also comes as advocates celebrate the one-year anniversary on Sunday of the Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage nationwide.

Designating the small area marks a major act of national recognition for gay rights advocates and their struggles over the last half-century. In addition to the Supreme Court decision, since the 1969 uprising the U.S. has enacted anti-discrimination protections, allowed gays and lesbians to serve openly in the U.S. military and seen prominent athletes and entertainers come out of the closet.

It also comes as the gay community comes to grips with a fresh and agonizing reminder of ongoing threats to their safety. In announcing the monument, the White House said the mass shooting at a gay bar in Orlando, Florida, illustrated that LGBT people still 'face acts of violence, discrimination and hate."

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo joined gay rights groups in praising the new monument, along with New York lawmakers who had long advocated for a national designation. Last year, New York City made it a city landmark — the first named primarily because of significance to LGBT history.

"Stonewall is finally taking its rightful place in American history," said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., who had advocated for federal recognition for the site.


Reach Josh Lederman on Twitter at http://twitter.com/joshledermanAP


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  • Shandy Scott Jun 26, 2016
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    Where will the monument honoring hetrosexual's be erected?

  • Amy Whaley Jun 25, 2016
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    Of course, this national watch list of suspected terrorist could include your name. It is unconstitutional to take away a citizens rights due to a list of suspicion. Suspicion is not a legal term that can apply here. Both the ACLU and the NRA agree that this is unconstitutional because of the lack of adequate due process. Yet the Democrats sat on the floor protesting. What is even funnier, the Repubs were willing to make an ammendment giving those who were put on the list an opportunity to defend themselves, which is constitutional, but the Dems didn't want to vote on that. Apparently the Dems expected to pass a law that would evoke citizens 2nd and 5th ammendment rights. Whats even scarier are those who think it is a good idea. SMH All smoke and mirrors!

  • James Barefoot Jun 25, 2016
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    This guy needs to go now,, Well my Great grandfathers Flag is going back up. Come on TRUMP and clean up the mess Obama has made

  • Bobby Lee Jimmy Billy Jun 25, 2016
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  • Kevin Oliver Jun 25, 2016
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    So the Senator who just voted against gun-buying background checks for suspected ISIS terrorists on the national watch list is not lecturing Obama on how to handle ISIS? Interesting...

  • Katie Miller Jun 25, 2016
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    It is amazing our politicians do the stunts to take attention away from the real issues. For those of you that think a monument will "tell the real story" shame on you. This is another attempt to keep the citizens from wanting answers about real issues such as government corruption.

  • John Lobenstein Jun 24, 2016
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    Maybe the POTUS should locate his presidential library there. He has been stonewalling us since he announced his candidacy.