LGBT community reacts to inaugural address
President Barack Obama speaks out on gay rights
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In his second inaugural address, President Barack Obama declared support for gay rights.
"Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law," said Obama on Monday during his inauguration speech. "If we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well."
It was the first time the American people heard a president mark a major milestone in the fight for gay rights at an inauguration.
"Gay rights is the civil rights issue of our generation, and I think with the president addressing that, we're going to move forward as a country," said David Vandygriff.
Vandygriff is the owner of "City X-Tra," an entertainment magazine for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community based in Jacksonville.
Vandygriff said President Obama's acknowledgement of the gay and lesbian community has inspired many of his own staff to write their personal take on the historic moment Monday.
"I've gotten quite a few calls. 'Can I write this article?,' so it's created a lot of excitement, because it's that acceptance," said Vandygriff.
Valerie Williams told Channel 4 that she felt the speech showed that the president is staying true to his campaign promises. Williams said she wants the Jacksonville City Council, which rejected an expansion of the Human Rights Ordinance last year, to take notice. Williams called the speech a small step in a long journey.
"Will it be easy? No. Will it happen over night? Certainly not. But I do believe and I am praying and hoping that in the next four years that I can see marriage equality in Florida," said Williams.
While only 10 states currently allow gay marriage, the U.S. Supreme Court is set to make two major rulings on the issue later this year, leaving those in the LGBT community cautiously optimistic that the High Court will follow the president's lead.
"He was being a true leader in saying gay marriage is okay. That is the right thing to do as citizens of the United States," said Vandygriff.
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