Stonewall Inn will be exempt from Trump’s national monument review
The Stonewall Inn has been granted an exemption from Donald Trump’s “review” of national monuments designated by Barack Obama.
New York’s Stonewall Inn has a unique status in LGBT history, as the birthplace of the 1969 riots that sparked the early equal rights movement.
The Stonewall Riots saw the local LGBT community rise up after repeated police raids of the gay bar. Some of the first Pride marches began on the anniversary of the riots in 1970, and in many countries Prides are still often known as ‘Christopher Street Day’ Parades in honour of the pub’s location.
President Obama designated the site as a National Monument last year, saying: “Stonewall will be our first national monument to tell the story of the struggle for LGBT rights.”
A question mark was put over its status earlier this week, as the White House pre-trailed an executive order to review all monuments designated by his predecessor.
Speaking to the Salt Lake Tribune, a White House official had said the order would mandate a review of all national monument designations in the past 21 years, to “discern whether [the monuments] are within the law’s intent”.
However, the Inn was granted a reprieve under the final wording of the order signed by the President today.
The text of the order clarifies that it would only apply to national monuments greater than 100,000 acres, exempting smaller monuments proclaimed by President Obama due to cultural or historical significance.
As well as the Stonewall Inn, this avoids reviews of the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument, the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument and the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument.
Any reviews of the historical sites would naturally have been a politically charged process.
Signing the order President Trump said: “Today, I am signing a new executive order to end another egregious abuse of federal power, and to give that power back to the states and to the people, where it belongs.
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“The previous administration used a 100-year-old law known as the Antiquities Act to unilaterally put millions of acres of land and water under strict federal control — have you heard about that? — eliminating the ability of the people who actually live in those states to decide how best to use that land.
“Today, we are putting the states back in charge. It’s a big thing.”
Speaking about the Stonewall Inn designation previously, President Obama had said: “I’m designating the Stonewall National Monument as the newest addition to America’s National Park System.
“Stonewall will be our first national monument to tell the story of the struggle for LGBT rights.
“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.”
In his speech after the Orlando massacre, President Obama had spoken about the “sanctuary” provided by LGBT venues.
He said: “For so many people here who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, the Pulse Nightclub has always been a safe haven, a place to sing and dance, and most importantly, to be who you truly are… that sanctuary was violated in the worst way imaginable.”