March 7, 2015 at 10:55 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Obama invokes gay rights in Selma speech

Barack Obama, gay news, Washington Blade, Selma

President Barack Obama (Image via C-Span)

President Obama commemorated the 50th anniversary of the march from Selma to Montgomery on Saturday as a moment in America “where this nation’s destiny has been decided,” invoking the struggle for gay rights in his speech.

In his 45-minute remarks at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Obama celebrated the civil rights activists who 50 years ago faced violence during demonstrations to urge passage of the Voting Rights Act.

“We gather here to celebrate them,” Obama said. “We gather here to honor the courage of ordinary Americans willing to endure billy clubs and the chastening rod; tear gas and the trampling hoof; men and women who despite the gush of blood and splintered bone would stay true to their North Star and keep marching towards justice.”

But Obama said America “cannot examine this moment in isolation,” and the march helped advance civil rights victories for other people, including gay Americans.

“If you think nothing’s changed in the past 50 years, ask somebody who lived through the Selma or Chicago or Los Angeles of the 1950s,” Obama said. “Ask the female CEO who once might have been assigned to the secretarial pool if nothing’s changed. Ask your gay friend if it’s easier to be out and proud in America now than it was thirty years ago. To deny this progress, this hard-won progress — our progress — would be to rob us of our own agency, our own capacity, our responsibility to do what we can to make America better.”

Obama made a direct comparison of Selma to demonstrations of gay Americans in decades past, recalling the Stonewall riots of 1969 and demonstrations in San Francisco upon the assassination of gay supervisor Harvey Milk.

“We’re the gay Americans whose blood ran in the streets of San Francisco and New York, just as blood ran down this bridge,” Obama said.

Making the case that “what it means to love America” is to invoke the spirit of change, Obama said gay Americans “came through those doors” opened by civil rights activists a half-century ago.

Obama’s inclusion of gay rights in his speech on Selma is similar to Vice President Joseph Biden’s assertion in remarks at a Human Rights Campaign event Friday the LGBT rights movement is the “same” as the broader struggle for civil rights.

Concluding his speech, Obama said the efforts of activists is still ongoing and an integral part of the nation’s history.

“Fifty years from Bloody Sunday, our march is not yet finished, but we’re getting closer,” Obama said. “Two hundred and thirty-nine years after this nation’s founding our union is not yet perfect, but we are getting closer. Our job’s easier because somebody already got us through that first mile. Somebody already got us over that bridge.”

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

2 Comments
  • At Selma ,Obama invoked Stonewall comparing the fight for Civil Rights & LGBT equality signaling It's time We begin to color in the the constitution using all the color crayons in the box http://wp.me/s2qifI-we

  • Obama (@ Selma) …extolling the PROMISE OF FREEDOM…but the apostle Peter said…

    President Obama commemorated the bloody protest (Bloody Sunday) by the African American people for their freedom and equality of rights (in this case including voting rights) which was held 50 years ago at Selma. He led the walk across the bridge, arms interlocked, with those who were present at the protest and with those who worship the freedom for “their rights”.

    President Obama gave a speech in which he extolled the promise of freedom, a freedom which he claimed was given by the “Creator God” in the American constitution of liberty…”endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights and responsibilities through self government, of and by the people”.
    He also promised that the faith in this “God’, in this Freedom, in America has and will expand the boundaries of this freedom so as to open doors of opportunity to mankind to live according to their beliefs, their religions, their sexual lifestyles. etc.;
    …for the freedom to worship the Christian faith, to worship the Muslim faith, to worship the Jewish faith, to worship the Satanist faith, to worship any other traditional “faith”, or to worship “no faith”….the right to be free to worship ANY ‘god’ ( but did not the One Creator command “you shall NOT worship any other ‘gods’?)
    …this SAME freedom also includes the freedom (that it is a right, that it is right) to live not only the heterosexual lifestyle but also the homosexual lifestyle, the bi sexual lifestyle, the polygamist lifestyle, the free sex lifestyle ( of which the consequence on others (men, women, children, unborn children) is the transmission of disease, unwanted pregnancies, abortions, fatherless children, single mothers, financial hardships, etc)

    Did the African American people, who participated in the Selma walk, realize that their desire for their Freedom, that this same Freedom also opens the door for man to justify “self- claimed rights”, for man to live according to what he defined to be right in his own eyes?

    President Obama stated that “ the most powerful word in our democracy is the word ‘WE’”.
    Yes it is the “WE”…and it starts with ‘me , myself, and I’. Democracy ( demo-cracy) is defined as self-rule. To be ruler of oneself. To be free to do one’s own will. Freedom in its essence is not concerned with the welfare of the other, of the brother. Freedom is first and foremost concerned with the well being of “oneself”….as Cain defiantly and arrogantly proclaimed in self-righteousness… “am I my brother’s keeper?!”.

    President Obama makes reference to some scriptures. Many politicians complain that people take their words out of context. In this case, President Obama has done the same…he has taken the words in scripture out of context of the entire truth of the One God. People, preachers, rabbis, imams speak the “words of God” but do not walk the entire truth.

    The apostle Peter ( in Peter II) warned those that claimed to follow Christ about leaders that “PROMISE FREEDOM”.
    …And through covetousness, through one's desire for and belief in self-interest/self-will, they will mould/ manipulate/ pervert the words of scripture to justify/glorify their way and they will make gain of you (will convince you)… and you will willingly receive this “mark” and live by its way.

    These are daring (presumptuous / arrogant / self-righteous) and self-willed …who mock and blaspheme the "glories / those of the Truth" which they do not respect/ fear, whereas angels, in strength and power greater being, do not even bring against them (the self-willed), before the Lord, a railing (accusative) charge.

    But these (self-willed), as natural irrational animals (born for capture and corruption)…
    …speak evil and blaspheme that which they are ignorant of, (which in their corruption they shall utterly perish, being about to receive reward of unrighteousness);
    …esteeming (leading/advancing) the indulgence in daily self-desire/self-interest (which is a fault and disgrace);
    …luxuriating in their feasts (celebrations / worship) of deceits with you, eyes having full of an adulteress, and that cease not from sin (the way of error)…alluring souls unestablished (unstable);
    …they are cursed children having a heart exercised in craving (covetousness/ self gain/self interest/self-rights).

    Having left the straight Way, they went astray having followed in the way of Balaam of Bosor, who loved the reward of unrighteousness (self-interest and self-will)…but who received reproof of "his own" wickedness, as the prophet came to madness… as a dumb beast of burden speaking in a man's voice.

    These (believers in self-will/free-will) are "fountains" without water, being driven by stormy clouds, to whom the gloom of darkness for ever is kept.

    For by speaking great swelling words of vanity ( of pride in and admiration of "oneself", of “WE”), they allure (entice) , by licentiousness (self-will / free-will / freedom) and the desires of "one-self", those who scarcely (the few who) escaped from those who in error walk , PROMISING THEM FREEDOM, not realizing that they themselves are bondmen of corruption (destruction)….for by whom anyone has been subdued, by him also he is held in bondage.

    For if having escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge (accurate knowledge) of the One Lord and Savior Jesus Christ , but by these again having been entangled and are subdued , has become to them the last (state) worse than the first .
    …Better for it were for them not to have known the One Way of Righteousness than, having known it, to have turned from the Holy Teaching which was delivered to them.

    But has happened to them the word of the true proverb: dog having returned to his own vomit; and the cleaned sow to rolling in the place of mire.

    Will come at the close of the days, mockers (deluders/deceivers) walking (living-doing-worshipping) according to one's self lusts (desires / freedoms / interests / self-rights…so as to serve and magnify oneself (XES)) …. defiantly and arrogantly saying "Where is the promise of His Coming" … thus redefining, denying, and rejecting the Preeminence, Lordship, and Rulership of Jesus Christ as the One and Only True Way, as the One King and Son of the Only God…rejecting to serve the Will of the One Creator God and instead embracing, serving, and glorifying the belief in free will / self will / freedom of all religions (gods) / freedom of self-rights.

    Christ said…"not my will but Yours be done", which Christ did in love for the One and Only Father and in love for those who overcome and follow Only Him, the One True Way.
    …and it is Only The Lord Jesus Christ that will very soon return to rule the earth in power according to and in obedience to the Will of the One Creator ‘I AM’ and NOT according to man's first love for "his self-righteous freedom".

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