NEW YORK, June 24 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama designated New York City's Stonewall Inn as the first national monument to LGBT rights.
The Stonewall National Monument will include and permanently protect the Stonewall Inn, Christopher Park and the surrounding streets in Greenwich Village that served as the site of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, in which patrons of the popular gay club stood up to a raid by the New York City Police Department, which was enforcing a law against selling alcohol to homosexuals.
"I'm designating the Stonewall National Monument as the newest addition to America's national parks system. Stonewall will be our first national monument to tell the story of the struggle for LGBT rights," President Obama said. "I believe our national parks should reflect the full story of our country – the richness and diversity and uniquely American spirit that has always defined us. That we are stronger together. That out of many, we are one."
The Stonewall uprising was considered a major step forward for gay rights, laying the groundwork for the modern LGBT rights movement. The designation comes just days before the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that guaranteed marriage equality in all 50 states.
"Today's designation follows years of strong support from local officials, organizations, members of Congress and citizens in New York City and across the country," the White House said in a press release.
About 500 people also gathered at Stonewall to pay tribute to the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando on June 12.
"Although the LGBT civil rights movement has made significant progress in the pursuit of equal rights and protections under the law, there is still more work to do," the release stated. "As seen two weeks ago in Orlando, FL, LGBT Americans continue to face acts of violence, discrimination, and hate. LGBT people of color are especially at risk. The Administration is committed to continuing the fight for dignity, acceptance and equal rights for all Americans — no matter who they are or who they love."
As part of the designation, the White House also released a video about Stonewall that will play on the billboards in Times Square starting at noon on Saturday, June 25.