By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The center city Philadelphia neighborhood around 13th and Locust Streets is known for its concentration of LGBT residents and gay-friendly businesses and has, over the years, picked up the nickname “the Gayborhood.”
Today, following the US Supreme Court decision overturning state bans on same-sex marriages, the sense of a watershed moment in US history was palpable.
John Cochie was all smiles, taking photos of the recently installed rainbow-colored crosswalks at 13th and Locust Streets, painted in support of the city’s LGBT community.
He says the times are a-changing, especially for generations that had long needed the safety of secrecy.
“We have dear friends who are (ages) 79 and 80. Those are the pioneers who could not be gay anywhere but inside a gay building,” he said.
Cochie was on his way to a card shop to pick up wedding invitations for himself and his partner in September.
Cochie says that the United States has come a long way in a short time compared to other controversies, “when you think about other issues, like racism, violence, and gun issues.”
Another man, Stuart Alter, says he and his long-term partner got married in Maryland before Pennsylvania joined the same-sex marriage bandwagon.
“You know, it’s all building blocks,” Alter said today. “It’s a series of legal and social actions. The biggest thing that’s changed: so many people are coming out, so many people have gotten married.”
He says everybody has a friend or family member who is gay or lesbian, and “when it hits home,” he says, “why would we deny this right?”