There were tears of joy, hugging and dancing at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, the cradle of the gay right's movement, following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision today to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states.
The bar, which one employee referred to as "Mecca for the gay and lesbian community all over the world," was the site of a police raid in 1969 that many believed sparked modern gay rights movement. Stonewall was granted landmark status just this Tuesday by New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission.
"The movement really started here and to be here on this day is just an unbelievable feeling," a man for gave his first name as Allen told ABC News today while standing next to his husband Tom. "It’s a big thing for us, but let's face it -- we're middle-aged guys. What we’re really looking at are the young people coming up. They won't have to live in that horror. They’ll be able to love the people they love and be able to marry who they want to marry, and it won't be an issue."
Allen said he and his husband Tom met 20 years ago across the street from the Stonewall Inn and that their second date was at the historic bar. And though they were able to get married last June, they said they're happy their marriage will now be recognized no matter what state they're in.
"People are smiling and everybody is happy, and it’s because we've been fighting for this for a lifetime," Matt said. "And I didn't think it was gonna happen in my lifetime, but it did."
Two women who said they've been together for 14 years and married for two years said they were surprised by the Supreme Court ruling, though happily so.
"I can't wrap my mind around it, it's just so emotional," Amy Ellison, one of the women, told ABC News through tears of joy. "I never thought I'd live to see the day this would happen. I'm just overwhelmed."
Ellison added that she was "grateful to be an American today" after having to "hide in the shadows" in the past.
"Bless the people who fought back," she said. "A lot of them are no longer on the planet. A lot of them died of AIDS, and they are our heroes. And a lot of them fought back in high-heels, they were dressed in drag. They're my heroes. We stand on their shoulders, really."
Another celebrant, who was at Stonewall for the first time, called today a "monumental day for humanity."
"It's nice to feel legal, which is a kind of funny thing to have to say," celebrant Patrick Hartigan told ABC News today. "It's really, really beautiful."