SPARTA, NJ – The first order of business for the first public meeting of the Sparta Township Council since the COVID-19 shutdown was a proclamation declaring June LGBT Pride Month.

As they did last year, the township illuminated the front of the municipal building in rainbow lights.

The proclamation, read by Mayor Jerry Murphy said June had been designated Gay and Lesbian Pride month in 2000 by President Bill Clinton.  The month was chosen as a commemoration of the Stonewall Uprising in 1969 in New York City, cited as the “birth of the gay rights movement.”

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In 2009, according to the proclamation, President Barak Obama expanded Pride month to include bisexual and transgender people.

The so-called Stonewall Riots were named for a nightclub in Lower Manhattan. It was there a series of protests, sometimes violent, erupted after a police raid on the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village in the early morning hours of June 28. 

The mafia owned bar was known to be frequented by people in the gay community at a time when homosexual behavior was against the law.  It was not uncommon for police to raid establishments such as the Stonewall but this time it led to protests that spanned several nights. 

It was from those protests that activist groups formed to fight for gay and lesbian rights. 

The municipal building will be lit with a rainbow, the symbol of LGBT pride, for the remainder of the month.