Victory Party

Gay rights activists celebrate Supreme Court's decision

by Chord Bezerra
Published on July 3, 2003, 12:00am | Comments

As the sun set on the gay victory day, the rally supporting the Supreme Court's decision overturning sodomy had already ended. Signs were scattered on the ground of the small park at 22nd and P Streets. One proclaimed in pink the overall theme of the day: Victory. A few feet away a man was dancing, an elated whirling dervish moving to no one's music but his own. Like so many gays and lesbians that night, he was celebrating.

Earlier in the evening, Ruth Eisenberg of Lambda Legal kicked off the rally with a bullhorn in one hand and the court's ruling in the other, joking about the famously cruisy spot, "As we overturn the sodomy laws, I want to note our symbolic location across the street from P Street Beach.

"We have won a great and huge victory," she continued. "It is a new day."

Cheers exploded from the crowd of about 150 people.

Sheron Rosen, the president of the Metro D.C. chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), said she was taken aback by the decision.

"I am almost speechless today. I am so used to fighting for the rights of my children that I've almost forgotten how to be gracious," she said. "I am happy for my grandchildren who thanks to the Supreme Court will grow up in a better more accepting America."

Local activist Sadie Crabtree proclaimed the ruling a victory for all gays, lesbians, bisexuals and "kinky people of all sexual orientations who practice deviant sex."

Not too quick to call the victory complete, Crabtree pointed out that only five justices overturned the Texas sodomy law on the basis of the right to privacy.

"The right to privacy is still razor thin at a 5-4 majority," Crabtree said. "You can be sure the fight is not over."

Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality stressed that the victory may be bittersweet and warned that while she was amazed at the decision she was also fearful.

"I am afraid that the extremist radical right may continue to impose its will on an increasingly conservative and out of step congress," said Keisling who, as the sun lowered in the sky, summed up the historic day.

"Tonight we celebrate. Tomorrow we continue to fight until none of us needs to fight anymore."