Historic Gay Marriage Ruling Stirs Emotion Across US – ABC News
Some snapshots of Americans reacting to the Supreme Court ruling declaring that same-sex couples have a right to marry in all 50 states.
Customers at a Dallas comic-book store were confronted by a sign Friday warning that the business might open late because the owners were “waiting at the courthouse to see if the Supreme Court is going to let us get married.”
Kenneth Denson, 38, and Gabriel Mendez, 33, have been together for 15 years.
They had a nonbinding commitment ceremony 10 years ago in Dallas, and they were legally married in 2013 in California, but they still wanted to do the same in Texas.
“We’re Texans,” Denson said. “We want to get married in Texas.”
They were married Friday afternoon, giving each other a high-five as a judge signed their marriage certificate.
Meanwhile, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a memo saying the government should not pressure people to violate their “sincerely held religious beliefs.” He later clarified that he does not condone discrimination or authorize state agencies to deny benefits to same-sex couples.
The celebration began early and built throughout the day in San Francisco, a city at the vanguard of the fight for gay rights.
Workers draped a giant rainbow flag over the front door of City Hall, where then-Mayor Gavin Newsom ignited a legal challenge to California’s same-sex marriage ban 11 years ago by ordering clerks to marry a gay couple in defiance of state law.
The California Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in 2013 after several legal setbacks, including the passage of Proposition 8, which briefly banned same-sex weddings in the state.
Newsom, who is now California’s lieutenant governor, reminisced at a news conference about that Valentine’s Day when he hoped that his action would spark a legal challenge.
“We were hoping to humanize the issue,” Newsom said of the first marriage performed at City Hall on Feb. 14, 2004.
Newsom said he’s couldn’t imagine then that gay marriage would be legalized nationwide.
“I’d like to say I expected this day,” he said. “I didn’t. We hit a lot of rough patches along the way.”
A small number of same-sex marriage opponents protested the Supreme Court decision by unfurling a banner on a freeway overpass across the San Francisco Bay in Berkeley.
The judge who struck down Arkansas’ gay-marriage ban last year presided Friday over one of the state’s first same-sex weddings after the Supreme Court’s historic ruling.
Pulaski County Judge Chris Piazza married two men in a brief ceremony in his Little Rock courtroom. He said it was the only same-sex wedding he planned to conduct.
“I looked at their faces and realized how much this meant to them,” Piazza said.
The couple, Tony Chiaro, 73, and Earnie Matheson, 65, have been together 26 years. They said they sought out Piazza because of his ruling last year.
“We could have gone off and done it somewhere else … but it meant so much to do it here,” Matheson said.
The Supreme Court’s ruling comes a little over a year after Piazza struck down a 2004 voter-approved amendment and an earlier state law defining marriage as between a man and a woman.
More than 500 couples were married in the week following Piazza’s ruling before it was suspended by the state Supreme Court pending a review.