Hundreds gather for a rally in West Hollywood to celebrate Prop. 8 ruling
Hundreds gathered for a rally in West Hollywood on Wednesday night to celebrate the ruling and to hear from the lawyers and plaintiffs who fought against Prop. 8 in federal court.
The jubilant crowd cheered, yelled and waved rainbow flags in celebration. They wore T-shirts that said, “Got rights?” and “Legalize Gay.” Several couples embraced and others played with their children.
Larry Riesenbach and Tim Ky, who were both wearing T-shirts that said, “I do,” said they didn’t want to miss the rally. They drove from South Pasadena with their 7-year-old son.
“This is the forefront of civil rights,” Riesenbach said. Though Riesenbach said he was thrilled about the ruling, he said, “It’s sad it takes a judge to say we’re equal.”
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa applauded the judge’s decision and said from the stage that it showed that “love doesn’t discriminate.”
“Marriage is not a privilege reserved for a select class of citizens,” he said. “It is a right that belongs to all Californians.”
When he read part of the ruling that said the proposition was unconstitutional, the crowd applauded, cheered and blew noisemakers.
“Thousands of same-sex couples in California and across the nation for far too long have been told, either tacitly or explicitly, that their relationships are inadequate or irrelevant,” he said. “Today in California, that finally changes. “
Chad Griffin of the American Foundation for Equal Rights said Wednesday's ruling began the process of telling millions of people across America: "Be who you are, love who you love, and marry who you wish to marry."
One of the plaintiffs, Chris Perry, said that the day was tremendous and showed that the judicial system works.
"Our courts are supposed to protect our constitutional rights. Today they did," she said. “This decision says we, too, are Americans. We, too, should be treated equally. Our family is just as loving, just as real and just as valid as everyone else's.”
After the rally dispersed about 8 p.m., the crowd spilled out onto the West Hollywood streets and headed to bars and restaurants to continue the celebration.
-- Anna Gorman
Photo: Jovanie Arvaezi, left, and Mark Vaccarino share an emotional moment at the West Hollywood rally celebrating the Proposition 8 ruling. “We hope to get married soon,” Vaccarino said. Credit: Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times