West Hollywood celebrates Obama's support of gay marriage
Heidi Shink, a West Hollywood lesbian activist, cried over the phone as she processed the president's words: "At a certain point," Obama told ABC, "I've just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that same-sex couples should be able to get married."
To Shink, it was "a big moment," she said.
"It looks like his evolution is complete," she said in reference to Obama. "The president has finally come onto the right side of history."
Shink was one of a number of West Hollywood residents who rejoiced Wednesday after Obama stomped out speculation that his support of LGBT communities would remain lukewarm during an election year.
As a Jewish lesbian woman, Shink said when a leader takes a stand for one group, it resonates for all marginalized people. She said her phone has been ringing off the hook with congratulatory calls and text messages. She dismissed any notion Obama’s words could spark backlash.
"The birth of any great movement doesn’t come without resistance," she said. "We’re all up for the fight, and we have a partner with the president."
"It's about time," Joey Caroni, 36, said at a West Hollywood café. "I'm thankful, glad they did it and it took a lot of courage to do it in an election year."
Caroni, a gay Redondo Beach resident, criticized states where voters approved bans on gay marriage. His mothers have been together for 23 years, he said, calling it “disgusting” that the two were unable to marry.
"California and North Carolina and other states will look back in 10 years and be ashamed that this was ever an issue," he said.
West Hollywood resident Keith Resnick, 48, also said he was surprised Obama endorsed gay marriage in an election year, but was elated at the news.
"I'm kind of shocked he’s coming out before the election," he said. "Most people in blue states are ready for it and people in red states hide behind their faith when it suits them."
Resnick married his partner in 2008 during a short window when same-sex unions were allowed in California. The couple will celebrate their fourth wedding anniversary Oct. 23.
"That’s freaking great," he said after hearing about the news. "Hopefully we'll get federal recognition and it doesn’t matter what North Carolina says."
Joshua Gonzalez, 31, isn’t married to his partner of three years but wears a wedding ring anyway. He says he now has "high hopes we can do it for real."
Meanwhile, Shink said she is scheduled to lead a lesbian discussion group Wednesday night. She said the topic was supposed to be sex.
"But we’ll be talking about something better than sex," she said. "We're talking about marriage."
-- Matt Stevens and Martha Groves in West Hollywood
Photo: Same-sex marriage supporters march through West Hollywood in February. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times