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West Hollywood hopeful on Supreme Court review of Prop. 8

Residents and officials from the city of West Hollywood, with its enormous gay population, were both hopeful and wary at a news conference following the Supreme Court’s decision Friday to take up California’s Proposition 8.

“It’s nervous time,” said Councilman John Duran. “The entire community of West Hollywood is on edge.”

West Hollywood Mayor Jeffrey Prang, told The Times it was offensive that the LGBT community had to wait for other people to decide if they can enjoy the same freedoms as all other Americans.

Equality California is “cautiously optimistic” that the court will rule in favor of gay marriage, said John O’Connor, executive director of the Los Angeles-based statewide LGBT rights organization.

Heidi Shink, a member of the Stonewall Democratic Club, married her partner during the “Summer of Love” in 2008, when gay marriage was briefly legal in California.

Traveling across state lines she often worried about her partner’s inability to make medical decisions for her should the need arise. Shink has been with her partner for 18 years.

“I don’t think people realize the human side of what it feels like to have your marriage hang in the balance,”  said Shink, who married her partner in Massachusetts in 2004. “Nobody can legislate love, but you can legislate the law.”

Across from City Hall, Robert Zator and Spencer Barnes were finishing lunch outside Basix Cafe.

Zator, a 31 year old West Hollywood resident who is gay, felt the court would rule in favor of gay marriage.

"There's no way you can go backwards, he said.  "If the court were to do something that would hold it back, there would be backlash. If you push people far enough in a corner, they will strike back."

Barnes, 35, said he was previously in a relationship for seven years. The West Hollywood resident, who is also gay, said legitimizing gay relationships would only serve to strengthen them. His own parents, he said, came around on gay marriage after seeing his lengthy relationship play out.

A court ruling in favor of gay marriage could affect President Obama's legacy, he said.

'It could be a huge thing people remember him for," Barnes said of Obama. "Perhaps one of the best things." 

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-- Matt Stevens and Sam Quinones

--twitter.com/samquinones7

 
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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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