Honoring Air Force Pilot Leonard Matlovich

A Momentous Week

By Tony Guadagnino
© 2015 Diversity Rules Magazine and Tony Guadagnino. All rights reserved.

Tony_G_thumbTony Guadagnino is a marketing consultant. Located in New Jersey, his clients are based across the country, focusing on social media to build their presence on the internet. He studied creative writing in college and is currently working his first novel on the subject of bullying. He lives with his partner Mark.

It’s the morning of June 28th, and as I sit down to write this column, I am reminded by the coverage of the early news that the Gay Pride Parade in New York will begin in just a few hours.  So much has happened these past few days that I must reflect on what a monumental week this has been for our entire community.

At the top of the list was the Supreme Court decision (5-4) to pass Marriage Equality, meaning that every gay couple who are legally married will have their union recognized in all fifty states.  I have so many friends who have gotten married over the past two years, and I am grateful for them to see this controversial ruling be made in their favor.  The thirteen states that had not legalized same-sex marriage will now be forced to step into the 21st century thinking and recognize that everyone is equal, and everyone is entitled to love and sharing their lives in a legal commitment.  Inside the gay community, the date 6-26-15 will be equally significant as 6-28-69, the date of the Stonewall riots which is considered to be the first act towards Gay Liberation.

And speaking of Stonewall, also this week, the infamous bar received official landmark status from the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.  It is the first landmark in the city that has been recognized because of its status in the LGBT history.  Having been born in the 1970s, my experience with the riots is only drawn on history lessons, not first-hand experience.  The brave men and women who were tired of being bullied from the police fought hard on that fateful night for their rights.  Almost forty-six years later, the simple bar will stand forever in Greenwich Village as a historical building.  The people who remember those riots are proud to see progression.

On the night that Marriage Equality was passed, hundreds of people stood outside the Stonewall, the “mecca of the movement,” in celebration of the decision.  It seemed that everything had come full-circle, partying on the same streets that the riots had been decades earlier.  The energy was electric; everyone was filled with bliss, some people welled-up with tears, feeling overwhelmed with emotions.  It was a truly wonderful feeling to be standing there outside the new landmark on a day that forever changed our lives.

Despite all of it, I believe the most iconic image this past weekend was seeing New York Governor Andrew Cuomo officiate a gay wedding outside the Stonewall.  Early Sunday morning, hours before the parade, Cuomo officiated his very first wedding – to two men.  What an honor that he chose a gay couple to be his first couple that he joined as husband and husband.  Cuomo, who had always been a supporter for gay rights, cemented his place in gay culture by his selfless act.  I can only hope that more political officials will take the same stand as Cuomo in their own states.

Someday, when we reflect back on the last week of June in 2015, we will remember where we were when heard all of this news.  I am grateful to have been a part of this wonderful time in history, and I look forward to seeing what the next forty years brings. 


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