Joy at Stonewall Inn after gay marriage becomes legal across the land

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WEST VILLAGE, Manhattan -- The center-point of the world's gay rights movement is the Stonewall Inn, where history was made 46 years ago when patrons of the gay tavern fought back against the police who were arresting them because of their sexual orientation.

On Friday, it's the focal point once again, as the main stage of celebrations of the Supreme Court decision that legalized gay marriage.

Inside the Stonewall Friday evening, patrons packed in wall-to-wall were shouting, literally, their praises of the court. The same was the case out in front of the historic tavern.

"I've been waiting thirty years, so that I can move anywhwere," said Debbie Spell, who came from her home in Bergen County, N.J., with her wife Wendy Kennedy to celebrate.

"We go on vacation," Spell said, "and I need to bring a living will with me. It's craziness. This is just amazing."

A newspaper article on the wall of the Stonewall points out that it was the location where, this week in 1969, that patrons of the gay tavern fought back. That act of defiance is what Gay Pride Week celebrates, and that week starts the last weekend of June every year.

"I just didn't think I'd be alive to witness this day," said activist and historian David Carter.

He literally wrote the book on Stonewall, which helped the pub to become this week the city's first designated landmark of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, or LGBT history.

"The landmark designation," Carter said, "coming at the same time as the most important decision to the movement, makes this more than a red letter day. It's a red letter week for me."

At 10:00 a.m. at the Supreme Court in Washington, justices ruled in the case of Jim Obergefell and his dying husband John Arthur. The two had gotten married in Maryland, but because the state in which they lived -- Ohio -- did not recognize their marriage, they had to sue for Obergefell to have full married rights to his husband's estate after Arthur lost his life to ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease. By a 5-4 vote, the court ruled in the couple's favor, making gay marriage legal nationwide.

President Barack Obama called Obergefell minutes after the decision, then minutes later made his official statement at the White House, praising the generations who fought for this outcome.

"And slowly made an entire country realize," said the president in his comments, "that love is love."

While plenty are celebrating, not everybody is. Multiple Republican candidates for president condemned Friday's decision, and they were joined in New York by the president of the Catholic League.

"Instead of allowing the states the right to make decisions about marriage," League president Bill Donohue said in a statement, " these judges have elected to impose their will on the nation."

It was a reminder, said some LGBT activists, that they still have plenty of work to do.

"We need equality for all," said Glenda Testone, executive director of the LGBT Center, "including for our trans brothers and sisters, which we don't even have in New York State yet."

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