“…Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall…”

There it was. Right there in the President’s inaugural address, about three quarters through. “The most evident of truths,” he stated, is “that all of us are created equal,” and that this truth “is the star that guides us still, just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall….”U.S. President Barack Obama gives his first speech during his inauguration ceremony as the 44th President of the United States in Washington

Seneca Falls. Selma. Stonewall. Sites of events that proclaimed, each so bravely in its day, that women, that African Americans, that LGBT people, stood in the embrace of equality – and moved America closer to its most vaunted and most precious ideals.

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True allies

The French in the American Revolutionary War. Abolitionists in the fight against slavery. Urban consumers boycotting grapes to support farmworkers. Ruth Brinker, a straight woman, founding Project Open Hand in San Francisco early in the AIDS years.

Allies. They’re critical in just about every social movement I can think of, especially social movements that aim at justice for a group that’s unpopular or wields little political power.

The LGBT movement lostJeanne Manford a giant ally earlier this week when Jeanne Manford, the founder of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, died at age 92. She started by standing up – 40 years ago – for her gay son, marching in the New York Pride Parade with a sign reading simply “Parents of Gays Unite in Support of Our Children.”

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