Celebrations erupt in Castro as Supreme Court struck down DOMA and ended Proposition 8


Maddie Ottilie

Supporters in the Castro celebrate by waving rainbow flag this afternoon.

The Supreme Court overturned both the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 June 26, leading way to the eruption of celebrations lining the streets of San Francisco. Rainbow flags swayed in the wind from shop windows and bars. Some pedestrians decked themselves in festive attire, many appearing oblivious to the scorching heat. Men walked the streets in white gowns and women cheered from the sidewalks.

The Defense of Marriage Act, better known as DOMA,  banned federal recognition of same-sex marriages legalized by the individual states. It was signed in 1996 by President Bill Clinton. DOMA was ruled unconstitutional this previous Wednesday, holding the majority by only a single vote. Also ended with a 5-4 ruling, was California’s Proposition 8, which prevented same-sex couples from marrying in the state of California. The proposition was originally passed in 2008.

The intersection of Castro and Market was busy with celebration. It seemed as though the entire Castro community had abandoned work this Wednesday morning and gathered to show their support. The excitement radiated from the smiles on their faces and the tears in their eyes.

“It’s very emotional because its about our personal lives…it’s not a ruling about…the streets or the buildings…it’s about our lives” said one supporter, Nina Raff. She became teary-eyed as she opened up about what the ruling meant to her and her partner. “We have a college student son and a high school student son, they need to be feeling free and like their parents are awesome.”

Others also agreed that the rulings this Wednesday sent a necessary reinforcement to the children of same-sex couples. Annie Winters also described the effects this ruling will have on her children. “This decision tells them [that] it’s okay, whoever they love and whoever their parents love…They still feel the homophobia of the society and…every time there’s a validation of rights for any minority, it’s a tremendous victory for our constitution and our democracy.”

Some saw the Supreme Court decisions as a slippery slope that might in turn, lead to more rights for other minority groups. Nick Conrad spoke of greater equality being a great effect of Wednesday’s rulings. “To me.. It’s a rolling ball of momentum, all of this leading towards greater equality.” Thomas Bruein agreed. “It means we’re finally part of ‘we the people’…There [are] still things that need to be done.. but it’s like dominos…It is only a matter of time .”

These opinions appeared to follow the general theme of comments we received. Many supporters in the Castro looked towards the future with hope.

Aside from legal equality, many members of the LGBT community hope these rulings will help others become more accepting of their lifestyle. Homophobia remains an issue in our society, one that cannot be as easily addressed.

Bruein thinks the rulings will need to more supporters of the LGBT movement and he is hopeful for the future. “The more people that are married..the more they’re going to realize.. ‘What’s the big deal?’”

Members of the LGBT movement hailed the monumental ruling, but agreed it was long overdue. Kristen, a lesbian supporter shared this opinion.”[It] should have happened a long time ago,” she said.

Celebrations continued on in the Castro till late in the evening. And though these rulings mark a major step in LGBT rights, they are only just the beginning of a bigger leap towards equality for all.

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