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Stonewall Inn dedicated as U.S. monument to gay rights

Ezra Kaplan
Associated Press

New York — Members of the LGBT community, along with local and federal officials, gathered at New York City’s Stonewall Inn on Monday to dedicate the site as the first national monument to gay rights.

The Stonewall National Monument will cover a 7.7-acre swath of Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, including the tavern and the adjacent Christopher Park. The neighborhood around the bar was the site of riotous protests in 1969 after gay patrons of the bar fought back against a police raid.

“We never could have imagined (we would) see this,” said one of the veterans of that struggle, Tommy Lanigan-Schmidt.

The standing room only crowd of a few hundred was comprised of activist and community members. Some, like Lanigan-Schmidt, said they had actually been at the Stonewall Inn on the night of the historic raid.

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said at the dedication ceremony that the monument reflects that the United States is “a nation that aspires to be as inclusive as it is diverse.”

President Barack Obama announced the creation of the monument last week.

Many speakers touched on the added significance of the dedication given the recent attack at a gay club in Orlando. On the street where the ceremony was held, there was significant security, with police officers armed with automatic rifles watching guard.

The annual Pride Parade on Sunday passed between the park and the tavern.