From California to New York and Florida, the gay community cheered the U.S. Supreme Courts ruling on Wednesday. Some looked forward to the benefits of having their same-sex marriages recognized federally, while others anticipated further obstacles.
AP Photo/The Record Searchlight, Greg Barnette
With cheers, tears and kisses, gays and lesbians across the United States celebrated Wednesday's historic Supreme Court decision in support of same-sex marriage, which provided cause for joy after years of protest.
Crowds turned out in gay capitals such as West Hollywood in California, San Francisco, South Miami Beach in Florida and the New York gay bar called the Stonewall Inn, seen as the birthplace of the gay rights movement.
"It's so wonderful being down here celebrating and not protesting for a change," Roger Silva, 69, said outside the Stonewall, grateful that a New York law allowed him to marry his partner of 11 years in April. "I never thought this would be possible in New York, much less the country."
In a landmark ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court forced the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages in states where it is legal and in a separate ruling it cleared the way for same-sex marriages in California.
Stonewall has become synonymous with gay rights since a police raid there on June 28, 1969, triggered a spontaneous and violent demonstration that popularized the slogan "Out of the closet and into the streets."
A jubilant crowd of several hundred gathered on Wednesday afternoon, many carrying U.S. flags and the rainbow flags that have been adopted by the movement for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality.
At least one man had mixed emotions.
"There's a bit of wistfulness - if I was younger, at the bottom rung, to enjoy all those benefits. But yes it is a great day," said Bruce Ward, 55, a writer.
In San Francisco, where an outspoken movement carried the flag for gay rights after Stonewall, about 100 clergy members from all faiths celebrated the two Supreme Court decisions outside Grace Cathedral atop Nob Hill.