Gay Rights Supporters Erupt In Cheers Over Ruling - New York News

Gay Rights Supporters Erupt In Cheers Over Ruling

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Washington, D.C. -

(FOX 11 / AP) Chanting "DOMA is Dead," supporters of same-sex marriage burst into cheers Wednesday at news of the Supreme Court's decision invalidating part of a law denying gay marriage partners the same federal benefits heterosexual couples enjoy.

Sarah Prager, 26, cried when she heard the news standing outside the court. Prager married her wife in Massachusetts in 2011 and now lives in Maryland.

"I'm in shock. I didn't expect DOMA to be struck down," she said through tears and shaking. Prager was referring to the Defense of Marriage Act, signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996, which was aimed at preserving the legal definition of marriage as between a man and a woman.

A large crowd had thronged to the high court's plaza earlier to await not only the decision on DOMA, but also a ruling on whether a constitutional amendment in California prohibiting gay marriage could stand the test of challenge.

Most of the crowd that spilled across the sidewalk in front of the court were gay marriage supporters. One person held a rainbow flag and another wore a rainbow shawl, and a number of people carried signs with messages including "2 moms make a right" and "`I Do' Support Marriage Equality." Others wore T-shirts including "Legalize gay" and "It's time for marriage equality." At several points the crowd began a call and response: "What do we want? Equality. When do we want it? Now."

Larry Cirignano, 57, was in the minority with a sign supporting marriage only between a man and a woman. He said he drove four hours from Far Hills, N.J., because he believed all views should be represented. He said he hopes the court follows the lead of 38 states that have defined marriage as between one man and one woman

George Washington University student Philip Anderson, 20, came to the court with a closet door that towered above his head. He had painted it with a message opposing the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman and which the court is considering. His door read: "This used to oppress me. Repeal DOMA; Now. No more shut doors."

Thirty-four-year-old Ian Holloway of Los Angeles got to the court around 7 a.m. to try to get a seat inside the courtroom. Holloway said he and his partner had planned to get married in March but when the justices decided to hear the case involving California's ban on gay marriage they pushed back their date.

He said, "We have rings ready. We're ready to go as soon as the decision comes down." Holloway said he was optimistic the justices would strike down Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in California.

 

From Hal Eisner:

I'm inside the offices of Equality California. To my left tears are starting to waterfall out of a man's eyes. To my right, a woman who had been praying - her two hands vertically pressed palm to palm - was crying too. Both people had worked so hard on the campaign to defeat Prop 8 and with the Supreme Court's dismissal of the controversial proposition they won! The emotional woman, Martha Acevedo was somewhat in disbelief. Another woman named Isabella was talking about wedding plans.

She and her domestic partner had always wanted the chance to say "I do." She even wears an engagement ring and a wedding band. But, perhaps Arturo Valencia said it best when he told me "now, we can love who we want!" And, that feeling was clear as many in the room ran out onto the sidewalk and cheered as drivers honked their car-horns in happiness.

For those wanting same sex marriage it was a good day!

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