Last edited: January 01, 2005

Supreme Court Ruling Celebrated from Stonewall to Golden Gate, June 27, 2003

By Beth Shapiro, Newscenter, New York Bureau

New York City—Hundreds of people chanting “it’s a great day to be gay” rallied Thursday night in front of the Stonewall Inn, site of gay riots 34 years ago. Stonewall, the first time gays rallied as a community to strike back at repression is seen as the beginning of the gay rights movement.

The rally was a celebration of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to strike down state bans on sodomy, but some organizers feared that if the court had ruled against gays there would be a repeat of the Stonewall riots that raged for three days in 1969.

Among the celebrants Thursday night was state Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, of Manhattan.

“My heart is just filled with the joy that knowing the generations that come after us will not have to labor under this mask of criminality,” Glick said “We will never go back into the shadows again.”

“It’s the first time that the Supreme Court has ever positively voted in favor of gays,” said Charley Beal, 45, as he waved a Pride flag.

Lawrence Saltzman, 49, who was wearing a shirt that read “Homo sex is not a crime,” said: “What it means today for us is children growing up today, adolescents and other people in our society won’t be told that people who are not heterosexuals are criminals. It allows gays to look at themselves without criminality.”

In Texas, rallies were held at Republic Square Park, in Dallas and on the steps of Houston city hall. Other celebrations were held in Galveston and Austin.

In Chicago, more than 100 people attended a rally at Halsted & Roscoe Streets in Boys Town. The rally also marked the beginning of Gay Pride weekend. Illinois has not had a sodomy law since 1962, but many at the celebration said Thursday’s ruling was an affirmation.

On the west coast, in San Francisco, the court ruling came shortly after 7 am. By noon a large crowd had gathered in the Castro district. For one day, as a symbolic gesture, instead of flying the Rainbow flag, the Stars and Stripes was hoisted up the flagpole at the corner of market and Castro.

The moment was “genuinely joyous,” said Armistead Maupin, who withstood bomb threats and lawsuits when his 1970s Tales of the City novels about San Francisco gay life aired as a TV movie in 1990.

In all, celebrations were held in 36 cities nationwide.

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