By Andrew Marin
Historians note that on 28 June, 1969 the modern era of the battle over gay rights unofficially began. It was in the early hours of that morning in Greenwich Village in New York City at an underground gay club called Stonewall Inn that a group of LGBT patrons began fighting back against the NYPD, who regularly showed up to receive bribes and shake-down those in the club under the threats of a very public, and irrevocably damaging, “outing.” The riot ended up spilling onto the streets and lasted a few days before the police finally turned away. The very next year on the last weekend of June a small group of LGBT people, predominantly made up of those in the riot, gathered outside Stonewall Inn and marched down the street to commemorate their time standing up to what seemed like an untouchable force of corrupt oppression. That original gathering of remembrance was the first of what we know today as the Gay Pride Parade. And on 24 June, 2011, hours before the 42nd anniversary of the Gay Pride Parade weekend, the New York State Legislature, by a vote of 33-29, officially made into law that two people of the same sex can legally get married, thus attaining all of the health, estate and tax benefits that come with such a status. New York became the sixth and most populated State to legalize gay marriage. Although some US citizens might not think our country is moving fast enough with the legalization of a Federal, let alone individual States’ recognition of gay marriage, none must not forget that as recent as 2002 fourteen States still had the anti-sodomy law on their books—with penalties for those caught participating in same-sex sexual acts ranging from fines to jail time.
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