President Barack Obama’s emphatic gay-rights advocacy in his inaugural address thrilled many activists. Yet almost immediately came the questions and exhortations as to what steps should be taken next. “I was very moved,” said Jon Davidson, legal director of the gay-rights group Lambda Legal. “But there’s a lot more to do in the four years to come. ... It’s not like everything is fine.” Items on the activists’ wish list include appointment of America’s first openly gay Cabinet member, steps to curtail unequal treatment of same-sex couples in the military and an executive order barring federal contractors from workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The paramount priority for many, however, is same-sex marriage. Never before Monday had an inaugural address conveyed support for marriage equality, and activists now hope the Obama administration will take concrete steps to follow up, including escalated engagement in pending Supreme Court cases.
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