In celebrating the Supreme Court's ruling to legalize gay marriage across the country, activists and public officials frequently gave nods to "the people who came before."
Those trailblazers were captured in action in the set of three videos below.
The clips show the Gay Activists Alliance — a group that formed after the Stonewall Rebellion — storming the City Clerk's Office in protest after the City Clerk threatened to take legal action against a Greenwich Village church that was performing civil unions for gay couples in 1971.
The first video includes an interview with the church leader, explaining how the confrontation came about, and a look at how the activists planned their takeover.
It's a rare peek at the reality of the lives of people referred to in the abstract as heroes: One activist leader, in planning the takeover, tells his cohort "I'm really scared s---less" as they strategize.
The second video shows the noisy, sometimes awkward, but ultimately successful "takeover" of the Marriage Bureau. The City Clerk is forced from his office as the activists chant "bigot" over and over.
The third installment shows the arrival of the police — who apparently can't keep from smiling at the activists' offers of wedding cake — and the break-up of the occupation.