In his second inaugural speech, President Obama called for the extension of laws that would give gays more protections and benefits under federal law.
"Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well," said Obama.
The president's comments were made while outlining what seemed to be protections for minorities and undocumented immigrants. The speech, which also falls on the federal holiday that celebrates the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., appeared to take on similarities to the former civil rights leader's infamous "I Have a Dream" speech.
"We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth."
When Obama began his quest for the presidency in 2007, he said on multiple occasions he believed marriage to be between one man and one woman. However, in May 2012 and toward the end of his first term, he said he had "evolved" in his position on same-sex marriage, publicly embracing the rights of homosexuals to marry.
According to a search completed today by Politico, Obama was the first president to use the word "gay" in his inaugural speech. In addition, Obama referenced what is known as the Stonewall Riots, a historic event in the gay rights movement sparked by a 1969 police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village.
"We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall," Obama said.
The president and his family will participate in the inaugural parade and a host of balls and dances later this evening.