Forty-four years ago almost to the day, the first Stonewall riots happened. Stonewall was a NYC bar frequented by the most disenfranchised of the gay (although that word was not in common use yet) community – drag queens, transgendered, homeless youth. The bar was raided, the patrons rousted and then rioted. They may not have shouted “We’re not going to take it anymore,” but that was the effect and things started to change. Slowly.
A few months later, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where I worked for the decidedly left-wing Old Mole newspaper, I met a young man named Stan. Stan was promoting a new organization, Gay Liberation.
Since this was the time of women’s liberation, with its consciousness raising groups, marches and protests (our group had recently taken a stand with Gloria Steinem against the dress code in the stuff Ritz Carlton Hotel, among other more substantive measures including a march to “seize” a building from Harvard and turn it into a women’s building). I was all over that. “Gay Liberation!” I enthused to my fellow journalists. “We have to write about it.”
I was surprised that my idea was pooh-poohed by all the men. I insisted, and not wanting to be considered “chauvinistic,” the men deferred and and I wrote my article on Stan and the coming gay revolution.
Today, nearly 40 years to the day after that historic Stonewall raid, our Supreme Court has given the green light to same sex marriage in California.
A narrow victory to be sure, on issues of standing, related to the Proposition 8 issue (Proposition 8 was a measure overturning gay marriage in California, that was declared unconstitutional by a Federal judge, then appealed by proponents of the measure, but not the State. The Supremes ruled the proponents lacked standing, and only the State could appeal decisions relating to State propositions), but a victory nonetheless for thousands in this state and hopefully a push in the right direction for other states to follow suit.
And oh yeah, they overturned the Defense of Marriage Act too. After Tuesday’s ruling on the Voting Rights Act, Wednesday’s decisions are a welcome relief.
Friday, 28 June 2013