U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), the nation’s first openly gay senator, delivered the ceremonial announcement to “play ball” at the start of the 9th Annual LGBT Night Out at Washington Nationals Stadium Tuesday night.
Just under 4,000 people from the LGBT community bought tickets to attend the game, according to Brent Minor, executive director of Team D.C., the local LGBT sports group that organizes the ‘Night Out’ event.
The Nationals beat the Arizona Diamondbacks, 7-5.
Prior to the start of the game, Alan Gendreau, a gay Division I football player who has hopes of becoming the first out player in the National Football League, threw the ceremonial first pitch of the game.
Gautham Raghavan, the White House Associate Director of Public Engagement for LGBT issues, joined Nationals manager Davey Johnson in bringing the official lineup card of Nationals players to the umpires. Participating in this ceremonial task has been considered a tradition of Major League Baseball used to honor a public official or community leader.
For the eighth year in a row, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington sang the National Anthem at the ‘Night Out’ game, drawing enthusiastic applause from the crowd.
Among those attending the event was gay rights attorney Paul Smith, who argued the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case of Lawrence v. Texas in which the court overturned state sodomy laws exactly 10 years ago.
Smith joined many of the LGBT activists attending the ‘Night Out’ game in expressing optimism that the Supreme Court would issue favorable rulings the next day in two more landmark gay rights cases dealing with same-sex marriage.