Obama honors gay rights

As of 2015, there are 112 protected areas called national monuments, which can only be established by presidential proclamation or by congressional legislation. But there have been rumblings that that number will be bumped up to 113 soon.

National monuments are mostly landmarks that have great historical meaning. They are protected in order to commemorate that history so that future generations of U.S. citizens do not forget our struggles and victories as a country and as individuals. The proposed national monument in support of gay rights would be the first one of its kind. It would serve as a reminder of everything the queer community has had to suffer and fight for in order to gain equality.

The queer community needs the support of the federal government during this time. Recent discriminatory legislation in North Carolina and the unrest that still exists in Georgia have caused many people to wonder whether the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage in June of last year was really the victory of a war or actually just another small battle that was won in the name of equality.

While the federal government may be behind the queer community, it is obvious that many states are not willing to be as progressive. Continued pressure from D.C. might be able to cause them to change their tunes, but a national monument would also help fight their discrimination.

Since national monuments are representations of important moments in U.S. history, a monument about the gay rights movement would forever immortalize the movement and validate its vitality in the story of our country. No one would be able to take this story away or present it as insignificant ever again because there would be physical proof that no one could refute. That is comforting amidst all the harshness that is spewed toward the LGBT community, especially toward members of the transgender community. People are trying to invalidate their existence and their beliefs, directly going against our Bill of Rights. Any support from the federal government would be beneficial.

The monument itself would be located in Greenwich Village on a piece of land called Christopher Park, which is across the street from the Stonewall Inn. The Village has always held historic significance for the gay community as a Bohemian capital for artists, liberals and counterculture movements. The Stonewall Inn was the site of the Stonewall riots in 1969, which is considered one of the most important events leading to the gay liberation movement.

In 2015, the Inn gained official landmark status from the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission for its importance as a catalyst for the LGBT movement. So it is a fitting location for a monument that will nationally, not just locally, recognize gay rights.

President Barack Obama has created or expanded 23 national monuments, more than any other president. It would not be a surprise if this one goes through. His presidency, if for nothing else, will be remembered for its steadfast protection of U.S. history. Senator Gillibrand and Congressman Nadler, along with 20,000 petitioners, have promised to get it done.