PHILADELPHIA (AP) – On the Fourth of July 50 years ago, when homosexuality was considered a mental illness and a same-sex couple’s public declaration of love put their lives and livelihoods at risk, about 40 people took a stand by staging a peaceful protest in front of Independence Hall.
Philadelphia’s Independence Day festivities this year will include the usual concert, fireworks, parade and public reading of the Declaration of Independence, but will also mark the city’s important place in the history of America’s gay rights movement.
While these weren’t the first public protests for gay rights, nor were very large when compared with demonstrations that came later, many LGBT activists say they are worthy of being marked and celebrated as stepping stones to 1969’s Stonewall riots in New York City, a turning point in gay rights.
Some of the planned events include a ceremony in front of Independence Hall, parties and legal panels. Museums are also showing special exhibits.
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