Summer of SCOTUS Decisions

06.27.13

Stonewall’s Big Gay Party

Hoards of marriage equality supporters—gay, straight, young, and old—flocked to the heart of Greenwich Village to celebrate two landmark rulings by the Supreme Court. Jake Heller films the scene.

They all just showed up. They knew. When the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and threw out the appeal trying to reinstate California’s ban on same-sex marriage, Prop 8, hordes of marriage equality supporters—gay, straight, young, and old—flocked to a seemingly innocuous block in New York’s Greenwich Village.

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Edie Windsor and New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn speak to the crowd. (Don Emmert/AFP/Getty)

Edith Windsor, the plaintiff who defeated DOMA, knew she had to go, too. Moments after learning she had won her case, she shouted “I wanna go to Stonewall right now!”

Christopher Street between Seventh and Sixth Avenues. Red brick sidewalk to the south. One lane of traffic headed west. Wednesday night, no cars were getting through. Outside the Stonewall Inn, where 1969 riots remain a landmark moment in gay rights history, crowds celebrated for hours into the night, hugging, kissing, and cheering en masse whenever someone popped a bottle of champagne. The street where gay and lesbian men and women had once bravely defied police harassment had filled with revelers, and I went down to film it:

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Sure enough, hours after the Court had issued its decision, 83-year-old Edith Windsor showed up at the Stonewall Inn, and was greeted with cheers from the crowd. “We won, all the way,” she said. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”