Ben Jealous, president and CEO of the
NAACP, has called gay rights human rights in response to President
Barack Obama's inclusion of gay rights in his inaugural speech.
During Monday's inauguration ceremony,
Obama connected historic events in the suffrage movement, the black
civil rights movement and the gay rights movement when he mentioned
Seneca Falls, Selma and Stonewall.
The Stonewall Inn is the Greenwich
Village gay bar where a police raid was met with resistance by gay
men and drag queens in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969,
triggering the modern gay rights movement.
Thomas Peters of the National
Organization for Marriage (NOM), the nation's most vociferous
opponent of gay marriage, told NPR
that many leaders of the civil rights movement completely reject the
“It's the attempt of the gay marriage
lobby to sort of graph itself onto the civil rights movement,”
Peters said. “This is a comparison that many leaders of the civil
rights movement completely reject.”
But Jealous disagreed, saying it was
accurate to link the rights of each group because in the end we are
talking about human rights.
“Each fight has been led by folks who
are proud and supported by folks who are proud about what they've
accomplished, who are clear that the type of oppression they
experience is different,” Jealous said. “But to have the
president of the United States validate each of these movements, and
through inference and through various other statements, so many
others, was important. And I think today's activists, especially
today's young activists, are more willing, more able, more inclined,
less inhibited to see our country's great movement for human rights
as what it is, which is at the end of the day one great movement.”