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Marriage Equality

One Ruling, One Rally, But Many Stories

One Ruling, One Rally, But Many Stories


The crowd at West Hollywood Park on Friday celebrated the Supreme Court's historic decision. Here's what they say brought them there.

Even though we're talking about the law, a normally rigid terrain, what the Supreme Court's ruling means to each of us isn't the same. The 5-4 decision legalizing same-sex marriage all over the United States was handed down on Friday. After joyous celebration on various forms of social media, many Angelenos took to the streets of West Hollywood. All came with their own stories.
-- Photos by Yannick Delva, Story by Raffy Ermac and Yezmin Villarreal

Wehorally001_0Brinn Solomon

Amherst, Massaschsetts native and L.A. transplant Solomon came out to the Decision Day rally in West Hollywood to celebrate a culmination of being actively involved in marriage equality activism for many years, starting back in 2008 with the Proposition 8 fight.

"Overwhelmed, happy, and recommited," they said of their feelings toward the monumentous day.

Wehorally002_0Eddie Daniels and Natalie Novoa

Although Daniels and Novoa have been a couple for 11 years, they finally got married on Friday not only as a symbol of their commitment, but also as a symbol for fellow LGBT people all over the country who can now get married.

"We weren't really waiting in particular," said Novoa. "Our anniversary is August 19th."

"We've kinda just been waiting for the right day," said Daniels. "And then today came up and then we just looked at each other, and we were like yes."

Wehorally003_0Benjamin Andrews and Gabriel Zapata

Andrews and Zapata, Hollywood residents, wanted to celebrate with their LGBT community to honor the people who came before them.

"It would be kind of a slap in their face not to celebrate," said Zapata.

"Fifty years ago, nobody would have given a thought that this was possible," said Andrews. "Now it's unstoppable, and I'm just excited to see what we'll do next as a community."

Wehorally004_0Christi Caden and Grace Baen

"I knew it was going to happen in my lifetime, but I didn't think it was going to happen on June 26th," Baen said of SCOTUS' historic decision on same-sex marriage. She attended the rally with her girlfriend Caden.

"Holy shit! We can get married anywhere else! Anywhere in the United States! That's fucking crazy!" Caden said of her excitement.

Wehorally005_0Victor Jonas and Ulysses Martinez

"I found out, and I called him," Jonas said of how he first heard the SCOTUS decision, and then wanted to tell Martinez.

"Complete, joyful, and reflective," Martinez said of how he has been feeling on this historic day.

Wehorally006_0Joseph Rocha

It was Rocha's 17-year-old sister who was the first to break the news about marriage equality to him on Friday morning. He came out to West Hollywood to be present among the LGBT community because "the Supreme Court has decided that our love matters -- that it's equal and that marriage is a fundamental right for us."

Rocha served under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy and continues to serve in the military. For him, it is of vital importance to celebrate this victory, particularly because of his military background. "To go from the repeal of DADT to marriage equality, across the country, it's a very emotional and meaningful day."

Wehorally007_0Geneva & Kate

Geneva and Kate came to West Hollywood to show their support for the LGBT community with their two moms. They celebrated with their moms early on Friday morning while watching President Obama deliver his speech on TV, which had them "freaking out."

"It's just exciting to be part of this because my moms are part of it and I love them."

Wehorally008_0Everlyn Hunter

Hunter, who has been out for 30 years, has gone to many historic LGBT events all over the country (including 1987's National March on Washington) and really wanted to be a part of the West Hollywood rally.

"This moment is one of the highlights," she said. "I need to be in community at a time like this!"

Wehorally009_0Father Steve De Muth

The first person that De Muth spoke to after hearing the news was his husband. The couple had originally gotten married in 2013 under Gavin Newsom, but those marriages were annulled.

"Thank God we are here to celebrate. When the news came down this morning, I was proud to celebrate as a person of faith and as an American, that the Supreme Court has upheld equality for all people, all of God's people."

Wehorally010_0Briana J. Castaneda, Roman Venalonzo, Lydia Garcia, and Aimee Mendez

These four good friends met years ago while doing activist work with Equality California, and they were out and about in West Hollywood Park to celebrate not only Decision Day, but also all of their own hard work.

"We've been organizers, we've called on the phone, we've done everything you can imagine!" Mendez said. "This is a big day for us."

"It's safe to say all four of us have been in the movement since 2008, since DOMA and Prop. 8," said Castaneda. "We've seen it through until now, and we've succeeded. It's the beginning, it's not the end."

Wehorally011_0Joseph Paredes and Ed Wahl

"We were together, and I told him We won, we won! Love wins!" said Wahl, recalling how he told his partner, Paredes, after he first learned of the Supreme Court decision.

Wehorally012_0Mark Schroeder & Andy Angel

"It's part of history, and I'm very happy to be here with my partner, and I'm just happy for everyone," said Schroeder of how it felt to be with a big part of the LGBT community in West Hollywood Park.

"I wish my brother could be here!" Angel said. "I have an older brother that's gay, and he just moved to Kansas about three weeks ago. But he knows what's going on."

Wehorally013_0Jane Wichon

Wichon became a straight ally for marriage equality after her husband pointed out to her in 2008 that "separate but equal is never equal." She got involved with the "No on 8" and "Overturn 8" campaigns years ago and has fought for same-sex marriage ever since.

"It's not right to exclude loving, commited couples from the dignity and respect that is marriage in this country," she said.

Wehorally014_0Lindsey Horvath

West Hollywood Mayor Lindsey Horvath gave an empowering speech at the Decision Day rally in West Hollywood Park, and she wanted the massive crowd, and her city, to know that June 26 is a very important step for the true equality of the LGBT community.

"We know that there are more fights to come, so we're standing shoulder-to-shoulder, arm-in-arm ready to move forward together," she said.

Wehorally015_0Dan Taylor

Taylor repurposed this white shirt he'd bought back when campaigning against Prop. 8, when protesters were told to wear white to show their support at rallies. After crying tears of relief this morning, he asked himself, "How can I turn this around and write something that means victory?"

The quote comes from Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's majority opinion delivered on Friday. After posting a photo of his handdrawn shirt on Facebook, his brother's reply was: "It is so FUCKING ordered!"

Wehorally016_0Mariposa Patriota

Sister Mariposa Patriota of the Los Angeles chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (an organziation of "nuns" for local communities that started in San Francisco) came to the West Hollywood Rally to support the LGBT community.

An Army veteran, Patriota also fights to make sure fellow veterans get the treatment they deserve.

On the next page, see a collection of more photos we took during the West Hollywood rally.

























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