Until Friday night, gays in Atlanta and New York were alike in this way: We both couldn’t marry. That’s been addressed, thanks to state lawmakers and a progressive governor. But now we share this: An Eagle raid and a police department with a tin ear. Now that’s equality! Hopefully you’ve heard by now that late Friday, New York became the sixth – and by far the largest – state to OK same-sex marriage. Gov. Andrew Cuomo quickly signed it and became the instant front-runner for the Democratic nod in the 2016 presidential race while President Obama – the guy with the nod for the 2012 race – comes off sounding more like Michele Bachmann than the progressive who grabbed the election in 2008. In the midst of the celebration – and, notably, the country’s largest Pride celebration – the Eagle got raided. Thankfully not again for the one in Atlanta, but the one in New York City. The police raids, though, do share similar stories of stupidity, political tone deafness and illegality that highlight the 2009 raid on the Atlanta Eagle. New York police are attempting to explain away their actions on Friday as a matter of routine inspections. How did they miss the fact that their timing stinks, arriving in force at a gay bar as state lawmakers are about to cast a historic vote and while gays are celebrating Pride, too?
“We are treating everyone the same here,” he added. “It has nothing to do with the sexual preference of the patrons; it has to do with complaints. It is blind to who the club is and it was planned weeks before.” He also denied accusations of aggressive police action.Sexual preference? Well, that’s enlightened and provides a little glimpse into how such a raid might take place on Pride weekend. It also provides a reminder that, nearly two years later, the city of Atlanta and its police force is still coping with the fallout from that raid – even after signing a $1.025 million settlement that also ordered reforms in the police agency. Monday (June 27) is the deadline for the city to release its long-delayed internal investigation into the raid, as well as an investigation ordered by the settlement and handled by a high-powered law firm. In the midst of New York’s marriage victory, you can bet some gays in Atlanta were there in the streets to celebrate. Atlanta residents Colin Wright and husband Jeff Goelz were there to mark Wright’s 40th birthday. Benefitting from good timing, too, they were on hand in the streets of New York City to celebrate marriage with the masses, first outside the Stonewall Inn (top photo) where the infamous 1969 riots started and on Sunday for the massive parade (second photo). “Party atmosphere here at the Stonewall Inn, but there’s still a lot of anxiety and anticipation,” Wright posted to his Facebook page ahead of Friday’s vote. Marriage equality and a gay bar raid – all in the same day. Just goes to show that even with marriage, life for gays in New York is more similar to ours than they might care to admit. Not that we’re bitter about that marriage thing. Photos courtesy Colin Wright