Gay rights gains in U.S.: Obama, and Harvey Milk airport

It's taken time but the tide has clearing been turning.

In spite of fierce opposition, same-sex marriage and gay rights have been gaining ground south of the border and here's a roundup of some of the latest signs.  

For instance, it was only in November, Maine, Maryland, and Washington (much to the joy of Dan Savage) became the first states to legalize gay marriage by vote.

You also might remember that in 2012, Barack Obama became the first U.S president to publicly support same-sex marriage. In Obama's inaugural address on January 21, he carried on with his vocal support. He cited watershed moments in rights movements, including gay rights (Stonewall), women's rights (Seneca Falls, New York), and the civil rights movement (Selma, Alabama). 

We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths—that all of us are created equal—is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.

But he didn't stop there. He went on to press for marriage equality.

It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law—for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm.

What could possibly be next, you might ask? Harvey Milk San Francisco International Airport?

If all goes well, actually yes, in fact.

David Campos, a gay member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, will introduce legislation to make the name change for SFO possible, and is seeking support from the board.

Don't expect it to happen without a fight, of course.

Other San Francisco locations have been named after Milk, including Harvey Milk Plaza (at the intersection of Market and Castro Streets) and Harvey Milk High School, and even governor Arnold Schwarzenegger designated May 22 as Harvey Milk Day in 2009.

The life of the iconic Milk, who was the first openly gay person to be elected to American public office but was assassinated in 1978, was most recently dramatized in the 2008 biopic Milk. Sean Penn won a best actor Oscar for his portrayal of Milk, and Dustin Lance Black won for best original screenplay.

 

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