- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 30, 2015

In what is almost certainly a presidential first, President Obama highlighted an historic gay rights riot as he issued the annual “Loyalty Day” proclamation Thursday.

In the presidential decree, Mr. Obama said it was “the understanding that our Union is a constant work in progress that guided our forebears through places like Seneca Falls, Selma, and Stonewall.”

Stonewall is a reference to riots in New York City in 1969 by the gay community against a police raid at the Stonewall Inn, an event credited with starting the modern fight for LGBT rights in the U.S.

Seneca Falls was the first women’s rights convention, in 1848. A confrontation between police and civil rights marchers in Selma, Alabama, in 1965 was a key event in the civil rights movement.

Loyalty Day, May 1, has been observed as a recurring official holiday since 1958.

“As a nation, we know the journey to perfect our union is unending, and we are strong enough to be self-critical,” Mr. Obama wrote in the proclamation. “On Loyalty Day, we reaffirm the belief that loving this great nation requires more than singing its praises or avoiding uncomfortable truths. It requires the willingness to speak out for what is right and to recognize that change depends on our actions, our attitudes, and the values we teach our children.”

SEE ALSO: Supreme Court gay marriage arguments, questions give encouragement, caution to both sides

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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