Obama to name Stonewall 1st national monument for gay rights

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By Josh Lederman | AP

stonewallWASHINGTON (AP) — New York’s iconic Stonewall Inn, where the modern gay rights movement took root, will become the first national monument honoring the history of gays and lesbians in the U.S. under a proposal President Barack Obama is preparing to approve.

Designating the small swath of land will mark a major act of national recognition for gay rights advocates and their struggles over the last half-century. Since the 1969 uprising in Greenwich Village, the U.S. has enacted anti-discrimination protections, allowed gays and lesbians to serve openly in the U.S. military and legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

Though land must still be transferred to the federal government and other details worked out, the president is expected to move quickly to greenlight the monument following a public meeting Monday in Manhattan, according to two individuals familiar with the administration’s plans. They weren’t authorized to discuss the plans publicly and requested anonymity.

Next month marks Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month in the U.S.

The gritty tavern, known colloquially as the Stonewall, became a catalyst for the gay rights movement after police raided it on June 28, 1969. Bar-goers fought back, and many more joined in street protests over the following days in an uprising widely credited as the start of large-scale gay activism in New York and around the word. Annual pride parades in hundreds of cities commemorate the rebellion.

The White House declined to comment. Yet Obama has paid tribute to the site before, most notably in his second inaugural address in 2013. In what’s believed to be the first reference to gay rights in an inaugural address, Obama said the principle of equality still guides the U.S. “just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall.”

New York lawmakers have long advocated for a national designation for the Stonewall. Last year, New York City made it a city landmark — the first named primarily because of significance to LGBT history. In Congress, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Jerrold Nadler — both Democrats — are pushing legislation to make the Stonewall a national park while urging Obama to commemorate the site through executive authority. (Click here to read more)

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