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Gays celebrate landmark US marriage rulings

27 june 2013, 17:50
0
©AFP
©AFP
Gays and lesbians across the United States erupted in celebration Wednesday after the Supreme Court passed two landmark rulings on same-sex marriage in their favor, AFP reports.

In San Francisco, which has one of the biggest gay communities in the country, more than 400 people had gathered at City Hall for the early morning decisions broadcast from Washington, DC.

Dressed in a full-length white wedding dress, Jenni Chang kissed her partner of five years, Lisa Dazols, when the rulings -- which include lifting a same-sex marriage ban in California -- were announced.

"We'll get married now. We're going today. It feels amazing that our government supports us," said Dazols, wearing a purple tie and black vest and slacks.

"We'll pay more taxes, but that's okay," added Chang.

When the first ruling was announced, on the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, the crowds exploded in cheers, stamped their feet and couples threw their arms up in the air together.

"It feels good to see love triumph over ignorance, and that began here in San Francisco," said city mayor Ed Lee.

The celebrations echoed those among an estimated 1,000 supporters of same-sex marriage who gathered under brilliant sunshine outside the high court in Washington for the historic rulings.

Washington lawyer Alex Kaplan, 33, kissed his 45-year-old French partner Olivier Basdevant when the DOMA ruling was announced. "It's a dream come true -- it will have a profound effect on our family," said Kaplan.

Basdevant said the ruling will allow Kaplan to sponsor him for a US green card to stay in country permanently. "We'll be able to adopt kids and provide all the stability we need in life," he said.

Amanda Werner, a 24-year-old bisexual law student, said she came from California to Washington for the ruling. "To see (DOMA) dismissed is a great feeling. It is such a great outcome for us. It was time," she said.

In New York, a celebration rally was planned for later Wednesday in Greenwich Village, near Stonewall Inn, the site of a 1969 clashes between gays and police over the right to congregate, according to ABC television.

Evening festivities were also planned in San Francisco's Castro district, commonly referred to as The Castro, one of the first gay neighborhoods in the United States.

There was a more muted initial response in California to the Supreme Court's ruling on Proposition 8, a 2008 California ballot initiative that saw the nation's most populous state ban same-sex marriage.

Although it opens the door for gay couples to wed in the western state, which briefly allowed same-sex marriages in 2008 before the Prop 8 ban, opponents vowed to press on with legal challenges.

"You always hope there'll be a large sweep, but we knew this would be a long fight," said Dazols.

California governor Jerry Brown ordered local officials to resume issuing marriage licenses to gay couples as soon as possible -- but this may take at least 25 days, according to the LA Times.

"After years of struggle, the US Supreme Court today has made same-sex marriage a reality in California," he said, adding that gay couples will only be able to marry once the stay of a lower court injunction is lifted.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa also praised the rulings, saying: "Today we have taken another momentous step on the path to full equality and dignity for all Californians and all Americans."

Online search giant Google also got in on the celebrations: typing "gay" into its ubiquitous search window produced a rainbow-colored box, a symbol of sexual orientation diversity.

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