Bar organizes post-SCOTUS decision festivitiesBy Mary Catherine Hodges and Peyton Shepard | 07/01/2015 1:08am
Icon, Tuscaloosa's local gay bar, organized a celebration for the US Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling in favor of marriage equality. CW | Layton Dudley
On the morning of June 26, Kyle Richardson said he knew it was going to be a big night for Icon.
“We knew early on there was a lot of excitement, and people were already talking about coming in to celebrate,” Richardson, the bar’s general manager, said.
That excitement was the reaction to the US Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling in favor of marriage equality, making same-sex marriage legal at the federal level.
Established in April 2010, Icon is a gay bar in downtown Tuscaloosa, and served to fill what Richardson said he felt was a need for an LGBT communal space.
“There was not currently a bar that was the LGBT community like most cities have and we felt that Tuscaloosa needed it more than ever,” Richardson said. “It gives our community somewhere to feel safe and be who they are. Here they can be themselves and socialize with other people like them. Tuscaloosa is a very diverse city and we are proud to be a part of it.”
In celebration of the SCOTUS ruling, Icon organized an event for Tuscaloosa’s LGBTQ community through social media, which consisted of a gathering at the Tuscaloosa County Courthouse, dinner at Mellow Mushroom and a night of socializing at Icon.
“We got ready really early and we had a great night,” Richardson said. “Hopefully [the ruling] will lead to better things and our community will be made stronger with even more rights coming along.”
The individual festivities continued for the members of the LGBTQ community and their supporters in a variety of fashions. UA students Nicholas Levert, Luke Thomas and Jacob Bobo attended Icon this weekend as well as celebrated privately with their friends.
“We’re just enjoying each other’s company and supporting the drag shows, supporting gay culture,” Thomas said. “Today, we had a pot luck with all our fellow gay friends and supporters, and not just our gay friends, our straight friends.”
When asked about his reaction to the ruling, Levert said only one word.
“Disbelief,” Levert said. “It almost felt too soon.”
Thomas and Bobo said they expected the decision and knew it was coming, but agreed it was shocking when it did come through Friday.
“It was just like all of a sudden it finally happened,” Bobo said.