I think everyone is still in shock as I am from what President Barack Obama said in his inaugural address: “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”

When I was standing on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. hearing this, I cried. It was such a blunt statement and was said in a setting no one was expecting.

We all know he endorsed same-sex marriage last year, but to say it in this way was unexpected. It told me that he is really serious about making this one of his goals over the next four years.

I think it’s obvious that any kind of attempt to push legislation like this will have to wait until after the 2014 elections when a majority of House and Senate seats will be up for vote. Democrats hold the majority in the Senate, but Republicans control the house by 33 members with two seats vacant at this time.

There was so much more energy this time than when I was there in 2009. Probably because I was a lot closer than last time, and there were about a million less people. But I noticed that people were more open to talking to one another.

While I was waiting for almost 10 hours in the cold, I tried to see if there were any GLBT signs or flags. From my position, there wasn’t. And I was curious as to where the gays were?

At some point during the long wait, I noticed one out of the corner of my eye: a rainbow flag waving.

The previous day I walked over to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. The crowd was massive and the atmosphere was chilling. It wasn’t because of his statue, but the quotes inscribed on the wall behind.

The quotes were not specific to issues of race and color, but broad for equality overall. In my mind he wasn’t talking about issues specific at that point-in-time, but looking forward towards the future.

Right before Obama mentioned “our gay brothers and sisters,” he mentioned this: “We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths — that all of us are created equal — is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.” When he said this, I knew he was going there.

The history of our nation is very much centered on people rising up to make change and letting their voices be heard. If we are really serious about fighting for the rights we deserve, we need to embrace King’s commitment to the Civil Rights movement and rally the people.

“Make a career of humanity, commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in,” Washington, D.C. 1959.

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For two years, there’s been nothing left for us travel junkies to do but sit at home and try to find new destinations that we will conquer once we defeat what appears to be the biggest villain of the 21st century. But once that happens, hold your bags tight because we will be up for some of the most interesting travel experiences. Take a look at some ideas for your post-COVID traveling plans:

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