NEW YORK - Regulars at Julius Bar in Greenwich Village are eager for the city of New York to designate the tavern as a local historical landmark.
"It's really important to have the city recognize Julius as a city landmark," said Ken Lustbader, the co-director of the New York City LGBT Historic Sites Project.
The Stonewall Inn was cemented as the birthplace of the gay rights movement in the U.S. because of the infamous uprising there in 1969. But what many people don't know is that in 1966 a group of gay men staged an earlier protest trying to get served at the counter.
"At that time it was illegal to serve known homosexuals alcohol and if they did so they could lose their license, so this was the first public action to show discrimination in real time," Lustbader said.
New York State Senator Brad Hoylman, who is gay, says the project is personal.
"There were brave men who stood up to the NYPD and the mob and bar owners and made certain our rights were protected by law and that's what happened at Julius, and we should never forget that," Hoylman said.
Julius Bar is already listed on the National Register of Historic Places and supporters are hoping to get local status so that New York City also recognizes its place in history.