President Obama’s equating of the Stonewall riots with the civil-rights march in Selma, Ala., and the women’s rights meeting in Seneca Falls, N.Y., during his inaugural address attracted a good deal of attention today: “‘Are created equal’ is the star that guides us still. Just as it guided our forebearers at Seneca Falls, Selma, and Stonewall. Just as it guided those men and women sung and unsung who left their footprints on this great mall to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone.”
The Stonewall riots that President Obama referenced are often considered the start of the gay-rights movement in America. On June 28, 1969, a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a bar that catered to New York City’s gay population, triggered a riot that led to the destruction of the Stonewall Inn. Following the riots, the city government stopped raiding gay bars, and hundreds of gay-rights organizations were founded across the country.