Metro Weekly

Obama links gay rights and civil rights movements in Selma speech

“Because of what they did, the doors of opportunity swung open not just for black folks, but for every American. Women marched through those doors. Latinos marched through those doors. Asian Americans, gay Americans, Americans with disabilities — they all came through those doors.”

Photo: Barack Obama. Credit: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.

Photo: Barack Obama. Credit: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.

— President Barack Obama marking the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery marches during a speech at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. “We’re the gay Americans whose blood ran in the streets of San Francisco and New York, just as blood ran down this bridge,” he said.

“We do a disservice to the cause of justice by intimating that bias and discrimination are immutable, that racial division is inherent to America,” Obama continued. “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. 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.”

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Justin Snow is Metro Weekly's former political editor and White House correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @JustinCSnow.

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