Barack Obama has just taken the oath of office in Washington DC and is now the 44th President of the United States.
The oath was administered by the Chief Justice John G Roberts:
“I Barack Hussein Obama do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. So help me God.”
The President placed his hand on the Bible used by President Lincoln in 1861.
Minutes before Joe Biden took the Vice Presidential oath of office and Aretha Franklin sang Let Freedom Ring.
After he makes his inauguration address, the new President will take part in a parade featuring more than 10,000 people from all 50 states, including for the first time a gay marching band.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans Americans have high hopes for the new President.
He became the first President-elect to acknowledge gay people in his victory speech in the early hours of November 5th.
The new President of the United States then published a comprehensive list of action he will take on gay rights.
He committed himself to strengthening federal hate crimes protection by passing the Matthew Shepard Act.
The President also supports civil unions and federal rights for LGBT couples and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, “and believes that our anti-discrimination employment laws should be expanded to include sexual orientation and gender identity.”
Barack Obama said he would oppose a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and the prohibition on openly gay, lesbian and bisexual people serving in the US Armed Forces.
In June 2007 the new President said:
“While we have come a long way since the Stonewall riots in 1969, we still have a lot of work to do.
“Too often, the issue of LGBT rights is exploited by those seeking to divide us. But at its core, this issue is about who we are as Americans.
“It’s about whether this nation is going to live up to its founding promise of equality by treating all its citizens with dignity and respect.”