Looking back at 50 years of achievements for LGBTQ community

Millions celebrate Stonewall riots anniversary in New York City

By Christian De La Rosa - Reporter

NEW YORK - Fifty years of Pride continues to be celebrated in New York, and some people in attendance have been present for the long road to equality.

Ever since the Stonewall riots in 1969, there have been many achievements for the LGBTQ community.

One of the biggest was marriage equality just four years ago, but there were many more leading up to that victory.

"I was an 18-year-old kid outside the Stonewall," Mark Segal, 68, told Local 10’s Christian De La Rosa. 

Segal said he was outside the Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969, when the LGBTQ community pushed back against police oppression, catapulting the fight for gay rights. 

In January 1977, the fight was front and center in Miami-Dade County, where there was a heated debate over a proposed ordinance to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment and housing. 

High-profile opponent Anita Bryant said the LGBTQ community was not deserving of those protections.

"I can and do say no to a very serious moral issue that would violate my rights and the rights of all the decent and morally outstanding citizens, regardless of their race or religion," she said. 

But it wound up a historic win for gay rights, as commissioners approved the ordinance 5 to 3.

Bryant took a pie to the face as she continued her crusade against gays.

Since then, there have been some hard-fought victories, including a ban against gays adopting children that was ruled unconstitutional in 2010.

In 2012, President Barack Obama made history with a pro-LGBTQ statement.

"I just concluded that for me, personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married," he said at the time. 

In 2015, the long constitutional debate on whether gay couples have a right to marry ended. 

The Supreme Court ruled that they do.

Now, 50 years later, people are celebrating the anniversary of those who've paved the way for a younger generation.

"This is going to reach many people. It's going to reach a lot of kids in their homes who are going to say, 'You know, I can identify with them. They're people out there who care about me. There is a community.' That's what's important about this -- visibility," Segal said. 

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