The largest parade to take place in memory flowed from the Ohio State Capitol to the Short North District, celebrating Gay and Lesbian Pride month. Columbus police estimate between 180,000 to 200,000 people participated in the peaceful celebration. Local evening news carried a brief story – half of which covered the two dozen protesters condemning the gay lifestyle.
The first Gay Pride marches took place in Los Angeles and New York on June 28, 1970, to commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall riots. As noted in Wikipedia, the Stonewall riots were a series of demonstrations against a police raid that took place on June 28, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn, located in Greenwich Village.
The riots are cited as the first instance in American history when gays and lesbians fought back against government persecution against homosexuals, and have become the defining event marking the start of the gay rights movement.
The African American Civil Rights Movement, the Counterculture of the 1960s, and antiwar demonstrations served as catalysts for the Stonewall riots. Today, Gay Pride events are held annually throughout the world in June to remember the riots and advocate for change.
In recognition of Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton issued the following statement:
“Forty years ago this month, the gay rights movement began with the Stonewall riots in New York City, as gays and lesbians demanded an end to the persecution they had long endured. Now, after decades of hard work, the fight has grown into a global movement to achieve a world in which all people live free from violence and fear, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
In honor of Gay and Lesbian Pride Month and on behalf of the State Department, I extend our appreciation to the global LGBT community for its courage and determination during the past 40 years, and I offer our support for the significant work that still lies ahead.”
Further Clinton comments can be found on the U.S. Department of State’s official website.