Saturday, June 25, 2011

A New Reason to Celebrate Gay Pride in NY

On June 28, 1969, the police raided the Stonewall Inn gay bar on Christopher Street in New York's Greenwich Village. This was not an uncommon event. Every so often the New York City police, like many of their compatriots across the country, enjoyed watching gay men cringe at the prospect of losing their jobs, their homes or their children by being arrested and having their names appear in the newspaper or their faces on the television, all for the crime of having a drink, a dance or some conversation in a place where men who loved other men gathered. But the night of June 28th was different. The police raid sparked a riot. First the patrons of the Stonewall and then neighbors and then gay and lesbian people from around the city threw rocks, set police cars on fire and demonstrated the unfairness of their treatment. It is considered to be the touchstone of the gay and lesbian liberation movement. There are now Gay Pride marches all over the world, but in New York the march is always held on the weekend closest to June 28, and it is named the Christopher Street Liberation parade. The parade begins at Washington Square Park, passes the Stonewall Inn and proceeds up Fifth Avenue.

This year's march will take place tomorrow, on June 26th, and there will be a new reason for pride. Last night, the legislature and governor signed into law a bill which will allows same-sex couples to marry in New York State. The bill will take effect in 30 days. The newspaper said that when news of the bill's passage was televised at the Stonewall Inn, the patrons burst into cheers, tears and marriage proposals. All those in New York who now have the right to marry, all the best to you. May we in California get that privilege back soon.

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