SAN DIEGO — On the day the nation celebrates and remembers the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., President Barack Obama made history becoming the first president to voice support to the gay rights movement in an inaugural address.
“Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like everyone else under the law,” Obama said.
The statement was followed with mixed reactions, almost instantly.
Johnny Lee Clary tweeted “ANY pastor supporting Obama after he violates the Constitution, supports abortion, & homosexuals, is a disgrace to God, the pulpit & the USA.”
“It’s a powerful day for the LGBT community and I think we have a chance of seeing real progress,” said Stephen Whitburn with the non-profit organization San Diego Pride.
Gay rights activists are watching two cases closely as they move through the Supreme Court. One of them challenges the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 which outlawed gay marriage in the nation’s most populous state.
“Having the president’s support helps generate public support,” said Whitburn.
While SCOTUS takes on the issue of gay marriage, legislation to further rights for homosexuals at the national level isn’t as likely, according to San Diego State University political analyst Ric Epps.
“There’s a bigger issue that we have to deal with first which is the economy,” said Epps.
Epps said the president’s mention in his address does set the stage for the future of the country’s political future, including the elections in 2016.
“The way it looks is that the person that cares about gay rights is President Obama and the Democratic Party,” said Epps.