Crowds Celebrate Same-Sex Marriage Ruling At Historic Stonewall Inn

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Crowds swarmed late into the night Friday at and around the Stonewall Inn, the Greenwich Village tavern widely considered to be the birthplace of the gay rights movement, following the Supreme Court’s landmark decision that declares same-sex couples have a right to marry in all 50 states.

As CBS2’s Matt Kozar reported, a crowd of a thousand packed the surrounding streets of Greenwich Village Friday night, singing, “Over the Rainbow.” After a long-fought legal battle, it was a victory lap for the gay community.

“We have all the rights now,” said Erin Dempsey. “And now we don’t have to carry our marriage license everywhere we go that doesn’t recognize same sex marriage.”

Waving “love rules” signs and rainbow flags, they celebrated the U.S. Supreme Court decision. Among the crowd was a 2-year-old boy at the heart of the case – Cooper Talmas-Vitale – and his dads, Joe Vitale and Rob Talmas.

“We are now equal in all 50 states and territories in the United States of America,” Vitale said.

Cooper was named as a plaintiff in the case. Cooper was adopted from Ohio — a state that has not allowed same-sex marriage. Because of that, Ohio state officials will only permit one of his fathers to be on his birth certificate.

Vitale and Talmas have been fighting for a year to get both of their names on it and with this decision, they have finally prevailed, ending years of headaches and disappointment, CBS2’s Jessica Schneider reported.

“I can go on with my life, Cooper is going to have a normal life, we’re not going to have to do anything special for him. And we can get on and be normal everyday parents and just say we fought the good fight and get on with it, and just smile.”

Edward Sullivan and his husband remember a time in the U.S. when they did not even talk about being gay. But times have changed.

“I’m married to the man that I’ve loved for 22 years, and now we are married in the eyes of everyone in the United States,” Sullivan said.

Justin Kettler and Tim Loecker had also been awaiting the day for 13 years.

They’re in New York City for this weekend’s Gay Pride Parade but live in Texas where until now marriage has not been equal.

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“We were joking, ‘Hey, should we go out and get rings today?’ But the truth is it’s about having the option and the freedom to do what two human being should be able to do,” Kettler told CBS2’s Emily Smith.

They rushed down to the Stonewall, along with many others to share in the bliss at the home of the gay rights movement. People were handing out roses on Christopher Street, where rainbow flags flew high.

“To see this just means so much, it’s not about just the idea of marriage, it’s about equality,” owner Stacy Lentz told 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa.

“It’s an extremely hallowed ground, place to be,” said Kathy Marino Thomas.

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“This is the birthplace of the gay civil rights movement in 1969, this is where it all started and a lot of those people aren’t still around and this is a way to commemorate them,” Hell’s Kitchen resident Brandon Kelly said. “Come down stomp on the ground just like they did and have a party.”

The man who calls himself Tree, who was involved in the Stonewall riots in 1969, now works at the Stonewall Inn.

“Today is a very good thing for the people in America,” he told WCBS 880’s Ginny Kosola. “Unfortunately I’m too old to get married, but I’m enjoying the youth having a good time. I just hope they don’t screw it up by meeting somebody and marrying them real fast.”

Ann, who lives in SoHo, also rushed to the Stonewall Inn to celebrate.

“Right away all of my friends said OK you know what, it happened. We’ve been working for this for so many years, fighting tooth and nail and finally we got it. They said enjoy Pride,” she said.

A woman celebrates outside the Stonewall Tavern in the West Village on June 26, 2015. (Photo credit: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

A woman celebrates outside the Stonewall Tavern in the West Village on June 26, 2015. (Photo credit: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Mayor Bill de Blasio praised the Supreme Court’s ruling, calling the decision “a pivotal moment in the history of our nation.”

The mayor celebrated with a pop-up party Friday afternoon on the steps of City Hall, where he officiated two same-sex weddings.

Speaking on 1010 WINS Friday evening, de Blasio said: “It was a joy to celebrate with these beautiful couples as history was being made for our nation. And for the first time ever, everyone has that same equal right to marry the person they love. It was an extraordinary and joyous day.”

De Blasio said the marriage equality movement has to be one of the fastest changing social movements in the country’s history.

“You think about 10-15 years ago the assumption all over the country was this was something that wouldn’t happen in our lifetime, that we would see true marriage equality,” he said.

De Blasio said what happened was “powerful.”

“People all over the country started to express that desire for change right at the grassroots…I think by the time it got to the Supreme Court, I think the people of this country had already decided that marriage equality was the right thing,” the mayor said.

“Today’s ruling says that we are all equal and people should not be afraid to love the way they should love and want to love,” City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer told 1010 WINS.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the One World Trade Center spire would be lit in rainbow colors to celebrate the decision.

“From Stonewall to Edie Windsor, New Yorkers have always been on the front lines of the fight to ensure equality and fairness for all,” Cuomo said in a statement. “Today, we are proud New Yorkers and proud Americans. Today, progress marches on.”

It’s pride weekend. With more than two million people expected to take part — with marriage equality — it’s just going to be louder and prouder, Smith reported.

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