White House eyes first national monument to gay rights movement

A man is silhouetted on a rainbow flag during a demonstration for gay rights in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Nov 24, 2015.
A man is silhouetted on a rainbow flag during a demonstration for gay rights in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Nov 24, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - President Barack Obama is close to creating the first US national monument to the gay rights movement, in a New York City area seen as the birthplace of the struggle.

While many national monuments are distinctive places or landscapes, this would be the first national monument centred on a bar, the Stonewall Inn, plus surrounding area, in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan.

In 1969, police raided the inn, owned by the mafia at the time, which catered to marginalised groups. Activists and authorities clashed in surrounding streets.

Less than five decades on, the United States has recognised same-sex marriage and survivors' benefits for them.

Gay Pride events are held in June to commemorate the month of the Stonewall riots.

Obama is nearing action, possibly as soon as June, The Washington Post reported.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand are among those who will hold a meeting on the proposed monument in New York on May 9.