President Obama on Friday designated New York City’s Stonewall Inn as the first national monument honoring LGBTQ rights, a move the White House says underscores this administration’s commitment to equality and will make the National Park System “more inclusive.”
The designation, first announced last month and made official Friday, is a strong symbolic step for the nation, Mr. Obama said in a video marking the occasion.
“I believe our national parks should reflect the full story of our country — the richness and diversity and uniquely American spirit that has always defined us, that we are stronger than ever,” the president said. “That out of many, we are one.”
The inn and surrounding area were the sites of the famous Stonewall uprising, a series of riots by members of the gay community against a police raid that took place at the bar in June 1969. It’s widely considered a defining moment in the gay-rights movement.
Supporters of the designation said such a step is especially important in light of this month’s massacre at an Orlando gay bar.
“The announcement is especially significant following the horrific massacre in Orlando, a heartbreaking reminder of the hate and violence we continue to face as a community,” said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “In the early days of our movement, the brave individuals who fought back at Stonewall and at other historic moments, helped inspire countless others.”
More broadly, the White House says Friday’s action will broaden the scope of America’s National Park System.
“By honoring the history and accomplishments of the movement for LGBT equality, today’s designation will be a historic moment in this effort towards a more inclusive National Park System,” the White House said in a statement.