WND Columnist: Obama Praised “Infamous Perverts” By Citing Stonewall In His Inaugural Speech
January 23, 2013 10:11 am ET by Carlos Maza
WorldNetDaily columnist John Lofton criticized President Obama for mentioning the 1969 Stonewall Inn riot – the event which many credit with birthing the modern gay rights movement – during his second inaugural address, inaccurately describing the rioters as “infamous perverts” and ignoring the widespread harassment of the LGBT community.
During his address, Obama referenced the historic Stonewall riot while recounting the country’s ongoing march towards equal treatment for marginalized groups, including women and African-Americans:
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. [emphasis added]
In a January 21 column for WorldNetDaily, Lofton criticized the president for citing the Stonewall riot, referring to it as “a group of sex perverts who rioted against police”:
Whatever else Mr. Obama’s address was it definitely was truly unique historically in that it is the first time – in an inaugural address – that a president has praised a group of sex perverts who rioted against police. The particular event I allude to here is a 1969 riot against cops at the “Stonewall Inn” in New York City. That is the “Stonewall” alluded to in the quote above.
So, what happened? Well, let’s start with the “Inn” itself and then move on what these “pioneers” did. A story in the liberal Denver Post (June 27, 1999) says this “Inn” was a place that operated “thanks to payoffs to the police and the Mafia.” A story in the liberal Los Angeles Times (June 26, 1996) refers to “Stonewall” as a place that was “a seedy, Mafia-controlled hangout for drag queens.”And a piece in the liberal Newsday newspaper (June 27, 1994) says it was the scene of “a revolt by people on the fringes of even the gay community … a sleazy Mafia bar [whose] patrons were the queerest, raggediest, grungiest of the gays.”
In his well-documented book “Stonewall” (Dutton, 1993), the pro-homosexual Martin Duberman tells how an epidemic of hepatitis among sodomite men was blamed on Stonewall because there was no running water behind the bar, and used glasses were simply run through stagnant vats of water, then re-used.[…]
When the police raided Stonewall about 1:20 a.m. on June 28, 1969, the bar was full of male whores and drugged and drunken “drag queens” (men wearing women’s clothes). A cop shoved one of the patrons, telling her (?) to keep moving. She (?) started swinging at the cop. […]
So, there you have it. This is what the “pioneers” of “Stonewall” did. This is the kind of thing Mr. Obama thinks “is now our generation’s task to carry on.”
But even Duberman – who Lofton cites to support the description of Stonewall rioters as “seedy” and deviant – disagrees with this account of the riot, and noted that Stonewall was his “bar of choice.” According to a January 22 NPR article:
"I liked the mix of people," [Duberman] said. "It was not filled, as some accounts have it, with drag queens and street hustlers — it was a nice mix of young and middle-aged, prosperous and not prosperous."
In reality, the Stonewall riot came in response to the long-time harassment of LGBT people by police officers in New York City. According to Duberman:
It was a time that every gay man Duberman knew in New York City would carry in his wallet the telephone number of the only two lawyers in the city "who could get you out of jail in case you were arrested by plainclothes police officers." […]
"Stonewall was probably the most popular gay male bar in New York in the late '60s," Duberman said. "It was one of the few, or maybe the only place where you could dance." […]
Bouncers at the door screened patrons, but they couldn't keep out police, who with some frequency would "raid" the bar, roust the patrons, and perhaps charge them with infractions ranging from loitering to specific regulations that at the time targeted gay men.
"They were using any excuse," Duberman said. "For example, you had to be wearing at least four pieces of 'gender-appropriate' garb."
Usually, he said, patrons would cower when the police would storm through, at times throwing customers against the wall, sometimes making arrests. […]
The night of [the riot on] June 28, 1969, was different.
When police raided the bar, and pushed customers outside, Duberman said, the men began to throw things back at the police — coins, bricks; eventually, a parking meter.
"It was really a howling mob, filled with the pent-up fury of years of oppression," he said. "It just all came out then for some reason. These things have a spontaneity to them that is never predictable."
The riot quickly became a symbol of gay pride, sparking the birth of gay rights organizations and prompting the first major Gay Pride marches in U.S. cities the following year.
In his column, Lofton ignores widespread anti-gay police harassment in order to depict the Stonewall rioters as deviant and unjustified. But Stonewall represents a major turning point in the fight for LGBT equality and rightly deserves to be seen alongside Selma and Seneca Falls as a birthplace of a modern civil rights struggle.