BY NATASHA BARSOTTI — "Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law," American President Barack Obama said Jan 21 at his second inauguration, which also featured the first openly gay and Latino inaugural poet and a final prayer that was inclusive of gays.
Using the storied Declaration of Independence, which speaks to the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, as the launch pad for his speech, Obama spoke of continuing the "never-ending journey to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time."
"For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they've never been self-executing," he said, adding that securing freedom is people's responsibility.
In his closing prayer, Reverend Luis Leon, who was born in Guantanamo and came to the US as a refugee, said, "whether brown, black or white, male or female, first-generation immigrant American or daughter of the American revolution, gay or straight, rich or poor; we pray for your blessing because without it we will only see scarcity in the midst of abundance."
Leon, whose parish is reportedly welcoming to openly gay people, replaced another pastor, Louie Giglio, who bowed out, or was forced to bow out, of giving the final blessing after a gathering storm of protest over an anti-gay sermon he gave in the 1990s.
In "One Today," his poem for the occasion, Richard Blanco presented an oral canvas of Americans' large and small life moments lived out on a diverse physical and cultural landscape that also included personal memories of family love and challenges.