15 Notable Buildings and Monuments Lit Up by Rainbows

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On Friday, June 26th, the United States Supreme Court ruled in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges that two people of the same sex have a right to marry in all 50 states, and that such marriages must be recognized when lawfully performed out of state. This landmark ruling was celebrated in a burst of rainbows across the internet, and in much of the offline world. A solid show of support came from the White House, where a crowd was gathered at dusk when the lights came on to illuminate the building in a rainbow of colors. You can see a time-lapse video of the illumination. It's number one on our list, but it was far from the only such display. 

2. The Empire State Building in New York City

3. The Tower atop One World Trade Center in New York City

The rainbow became a symbol of the gay rights movement in 1978. San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker designed a rainbow flag at the request of city council member Harvey Milk, who had become the first openly gay politician elected to high public office in an American city just a year earlier. Milk asked Baker to come up with “a symbol of pride” for the gay community. Baker made his first flag with fabrics he’d dyed himself, with eight colored stripes, each symbolizing a different facet of life.

4. The 35-W Bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Gilbert Baker’s rainbow flags were first used in the 1978 Gay Freedom Day Parade in San Francisco. Afterward, the flag went into mass production, but since hot pink fabric was in short supply, the stripes were reduced to seven. For the 1979 parade, the flag colors were split and half were posted on each side of the street. For simplicity’s sake, the six colors used were codified into the current flag, which follows the rainbow color scheme.

5. The Federal Court House in St. Louis, Missouri

6. The Long Center for the Performing Arts in Austin, Texas

The symbolism lies in the rainbow of colors itself, not limited to the flag form. To show support for the LGBT rights movement, the spectrum took over websites, social media avatars, and symbols of all kinds. This includes buildings that are lighted at night. Just the addition or rearrangement of a few colored light bulbs (or more likely, LEDS) threw a rainbow of colors onto public and private buildings and landmarks. Some of the light shows were already planned for PRIDE celebrations this weekend. When the Supreme Court decision came down, it only meant turning the light show on a day earlier than planned.

7. Niagara Falls, Between New York State and Ontario

8. The Capitol Building in San Juan, Puerto Rico

9. The Seattle Great Wheel in Washington State

10. The Denver City and County Building in Colorado

11. Playhouse Square in Cleveland, Ohio

12. The California State Capitol Building in Sacramento

13. San Francisco International Airport

14. City Hall in San Francisco

The city’s own Twitter account has a big image of this illumination as its banner.

15. Grace Cathedral in San Francisco