Court Ruling Celebrated from Stonewall to Golden Gate
June 27, 2003
By Beth Shapiro, 365Gay.com 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
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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