Stonewall Inn, Greenwich Village, NYC — Forty-two years ago next Tuesday, a police raid against this gay bar started a series of riots that sparked the birth of the modern gay-rights movement. Tonight marks, for New York, the end of the long road that began at this unassuming little bar.
I see smiles on young people — and also, on some quiet senior citizens who are actually old enough to remember Stonewall 1969.
And speaking of 1969, here’s a little bit of perspective. In 1969, Spain was a conservative religious republic, led by the legendary Generalissimo Francisco Franco; and New York City was already Babylon-on-the-Hudson, well on its way to being the crime-sex-drugs-porn-and-atonal-music capital of the world. If I had said to you then, “Forty years from now, one of these places will allow homosexuals to marry each other with the blessing of the state” . . . well, let’s just say you would have made a lot of money if you had bet on Spain.
Spain did it in 2005, six years ahead of the Empire State; and now we have it here in ol’ Babylon. I call it Babylon affectionately; let no one question, on this night, my patriotism as a citizen of the state of Alexander Hamilton, Theodore Roosevelt, and the Marx Brothers.