Thousands of people rallied Wednesday in San Francisco’s historic Castro district, where Harvey Milk opened Castro Camera — the store that would become the headquarters for the modern LGBT rights movement — nearly 40 years ago. The euphoric group of thousands had come together with friends, family, and allies to celebrate the landmark Supreme Court rulings that struck down California's Proposition 8 and a key portion of the Defense of Marriage Act.
“We’ve come full circle,” said Kurt Oaklee, regarding his feelings toward the ruling on Prop 8. Oaklee and his husband Shaun were two of the thousands of people who gathered in the same place to protest the proposition’s passing in 2008. “It’s such a great feeling to know that our love is finally seen as equal in the eyes of the law.”
Spouses Rich and Cougar Andrebou, owners of Castro’s Whatever Comics, were one of the few couples who were able to legally marry in the short time same-sex marriage had previously become legal in the state. “When Prop. 8 was passed it created three classes of people, those who were straight and had full marriage rights, a few gay couples who married and were only recognized by the state, and then another class of gays and lesbians who couldn’t marry,” said Rich Andrebou. “We’re so happy we’ve finally arrived at a moment when we’re all one class of people.”
Dubbed “Rainbow Wednesday” by many in the crowd, the celebration was filled with people, some dressed in colorful costumes, who danced and sang in the streets – overjoyed by the events of the day.
“We’ve been waiting more than a decade for this day to happen,” said Brian Andersen, who has been in a relationship with his partner Preston Nesbit for more than 12 years. The couple is currently expecting twins via a surrogate and announced their official engagement moments after the SCOTUS rulings were made public. “We're ecstatic that our children will be able to grow up knowing they will have two legally recognized dads. Tomorrow, we will continue to fight for marriage equality in all 50 states, but today we’re celebrating a huge leap forward in civil rights.”
See more photos from the San Francisco rally in the Castro district on the following pages.