It was only by coincidence that I was in Manhattan overnight, working on a press conference announcing a new coalition and campaign for homeless LGBT youth, ironically at the Stonewall Inn with Stonewall veterans who were homeless youth in 1969. It also became clear this afternoon that the vote would be happening on marriage equality in New York. So I found myself back at the Stonewall Inn just a few hours later to witness history.
As a life-long New Yorker, I am so proud that my home state has joined the other states and D.C. that give same-sex couples the right to marry. It was a huge celebration in front of the Stonewall Inn on Friday night - the annual drag march was ending in front of the bar as it always does and everyone stayed as we heard the vote was happening. The crowd grew. And grew. And grew. I knew I was standing in the right place at a moment when history was about to be made.
It's very late as I write this, and I just got booked on a 7am live morning television news segment, so I will just give you some highlights from the celebration:
Loving that while we waited for the vote we danced to YMCA and Lady Gaga.
Running into Gilbert Baker, gay icon, our gay Betsy, and helping him (and a dozen other people) hold a 90 foot banner that said "New York loves Gay Marriage." He made it three years ago and has been waiting to use it ever since.
Like a beacon, the Stonewall Inn is a place where we have both suffered and celebrated and it is the place we gather when our community celebrates victories or mourns defeat
The couples kissing - and crying - when the vote was announced. Some folks on bended knee proposing.
Loving the amazing diversity of people - young, older, every race, color and part of our community - there was even a spontaneous hora circle that got the crowd going and chanting.
My only regret is that while I was there with friends, the most important people in the world to me were not there to share this with - Leah and Rosemary (who better have been in bed!) are home safe and sound and I cannot wait to get home to them tomorrow.
Now all we need to do is figure out where there is a justice of the peace so Leah can make an honest women out of me.
There are so many other issues and challenges our community faces, and while we can check New York marriage equality off the list, I hope we (especially in NY) can look at the myriad other inequalities we must take on. It was sobering to spend time with young people thrown out of their homes and onto the streets hours before in the exact spot where we celebrated tonight. If the Stonewall Inn is our touchstone, let's not forget what happened outside in 1969, 2011 and all the years in between.