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WASHINGTON – New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street in Grennwich Village June 27, 1969, because of reports the establishment was selling liquor without a license.
As police began loading some unruly patrons into a paddy wagon, a crowd gathered outside. Bottles, beer cans and garbage cans were hurled at officers.
An uprooted parking meter was turned into a makeshift battering ram, blockading some police inside the notorious “gay bar.” Then it was set on fire.
Reinforcements were called out to rescue the police officers trapped inside, but the rioting continued for two hours, with a total of 12 arrested. The disturbances at the Stonewall Inn continued for four successive nights.
Barack Obama yesterday commemorated the Stonewall riots as an event in which lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendereds “resisted police harassment that had become all too common,” triggering the homosexual rights movement in America. Thus, Obama proclaimed June “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month” – just as Bill Clinton did 10 years earlier, marking the same street uprising.
“LGBT Americans have made, and continue to make, great and lasting contributions that continue to strengthen the fabric of American society,” Obama said in his proclamation. “There are many well-respected LGBT leaders in all professional fields, including the arts and business communities. LGBT Americans also mobilized the nation to respond to the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic and have played a vital role in broadening this country’s response to the HIV pandemic.”
He applauded himself for bring the first president “to appoint openly LGBT candidates to Senate-confirmed positions in the first 100 days of an administration.”
“My administration has partnered with the LGBT community to advance a wide range of initiatives,” he reminded. “At the international level, I have joined efforts at the United Nations to decriminalize homosexuality around the world. Here at home, I continue to support measures to bring the full spectrum of equal rights to LGBT Americans. These measures include enhancing hate crimes laws, supporting civil unions and federal rights for LGBT couples, outlawing discrimination in the workplace, ensuring adoption rights, and ending the existing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy in a way that strengthens our Armed Forces and our national security. We must also commit ourselves to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic by both reducing the number of HIV infections and providing care and support services to people living with HIV/AIDS across the United States.”