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Prop. 8: Overturning of gay marriage ban hailed as historic

February 7, 2012 | 10:29 am
Opponents of Prop. 8 break down in tears as they celebrate outside of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday in San Francisco

Gay-marriage rights supporters let up a huge cheer outside the federal courthouse in San Francisco as word spread that an appeals court ruled that Proposition 8 violated the U.S. Constitution.

The news came a few minutes before 10 a.m., when a woman holding a laptop on the steps of the courthouse called out: “The gay marriage ban is unconstitutional," prompting a growing cheer in the crowd.

"Happy Valentine’s Day, California!" shouted Stuart Gaffney of San Francisco, who was part of the original 2008 federal court case.


"California has once again made marriage history. We already knew in our hearts that Proposition 8 violated the rule of love. We’re so happy to see that the 9th Circuit said it violated the rule of law," Gaffney said.

"We want to see our friends who have been unable to marry since election day 2008 celebrate their happily ever afters," Gaffney said.

Right before the decision came down, a group of clergy joined the crowd. Pastor Stacy Boorn said she had prayed to "the sacred presence who is indeed here today" that "this court make it legal for all people to be married."

After the decision came down, she said, smiling, "It’s the first time my prayer worked."

There was also a sense of joy in West Hollywood.

Brynn Gelbard, 35, a writer, and Lisa Donohoe, 38, an interior design student at UCLA, came to West Hollywood City Hall to see Mayor John Duran's press conference. The couple lives in Koreatown. On March 21, they will celebrate their 10-year anniversary as a couple.

Gelbard and Donohoe decided to get married in 2009 before Proposition 8 was passed. They proposed to each other at a friend's wedding in Scotland.

"When Proposition 8 originally came in, we had to postpone our marriage indefinitely," Gelbard said.

"We only wanted to get married once," Donohoe said. "We didn't want to get married and have it be taken away. You only get one shot."

"We're really happy [about today's decision], but there's still a ways to go. But it's a step in the right direction," Donohoe said.

Donohoe is from Ireland, so she wants to bring her family here for their wedding. She wants to bring them over for a wedding that won't be taken away. The couple met at a restaurant in San Francisco.

Donohoe was Gelbard's server.


Prop. 8: Gay-marriage ban unconstitutional, court rules

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Prop. 8: New weddings unlikely right away if measure struck down

-- Maria L. La Ganga in San Francisco and Hailey Branson-Potts in West Hollywood

Photo: Opponents of Prop. 8 break down in tears as they celebrate outside of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday in San Francisco. Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images