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Same-sex marriage: West Hollywood celebrates Supreme Court ruling

Decision Day Rally in West Hollywood Park to celebrate the U.S Supreme Court decision on marriage on Friday, June 26, 2015.
Decision Day Rally in West Hollywood Park to celebrate the U.S Supreme Court decision on marriage on Friday, June 26, 2015.
Susanica Tam for KPCC
Decision Day Rally in West Hollywood Park to celebrate the U.S Supreme Court decision on marriage on Friday, June 26, 2015.
Los Angeles residents Ben Coleman and Ronnel Smith pose for a photo at West Hollywood Park before the beginning of the rally. Smith, who was also celebrating his birthday today, said he saw the news when he woke up and that it had a been a great day. "Our director (at work) let us off work early," he said.
Susanica Tam for KPCC
Decision Day Rally in West Hollywood Park to celebrate the U.S Supreme Court decision on marriage on Friday, June 26, 2015.
Crowds waved a rainbow-clad American flag at the Decision Day Rally in West Hollywood Park on Friday, June 26, 2015.
Susanica Tam for KPCC
Decision Day Rally in West Hollywood Park to celebrate the U.S Supreme Court decision on marriage on Friday, June 26, 2015.
The crowd listens to speakers at the Decision Day Rally in West Hollywood Park, on Friday, June 26, 2015. Many emphasized that it was a day of celebration in the wake of the U.S Supreme Court decision on marriage equality, but that there was still more injustice to fight for, including gay conversion therapy for minors, violence against transgender people and rights for undocumented immigrants.
Susanica Tam for KPCC
Decision Day Rally in West Hollywood Park to celebrate the U.S Supreme Court decision on marriage on Friday, June 26, 2015.
A family whose gay parents were plaintiffs in a court case involving same-sex marriage rights applaud a fellow speaker at the Decision Day Rally in West Hollywood Park to celebrate the U.S Supreme Court decision on marriage on Friday, June 26, 2015.
Susanica Tam for KPCC
Decision Day Rally in West Hollywood Park to celebrate the U.S Supreme Court decision on marriage on Friday, June 26, 2015.
Saul Aldana and Todd Parkhill share an emotional embrace while listening to speakers at the rally in West Hollywood Park. "It's a dream come true." Aldana said. Aldana said he didn't think he would have seen this day during his lifetime. "I didn't ever expect it [to come]," said Parkhill, at the Decision Day Rally on Friday, June 26, 2015.
Susanica Tam for KPCC
Decision Day Rally in West Hollywood Park to celebrate the U.S Supreme Court decision on marriage on Friday, June 26, 2015.
Onlookers at the Decision Day Rally in West Hollywood Park to celebrate the U.S Supreme Court decision on marriage equality on Friday, June 26, 2015.
Susanica Tam for KPCC
Decision Day Rally in West Hollywood Park to celebrate the U.S Supreme Court decision on marriage on Friday, June 26, 2015.
Brad Keistler and Ron Cree rest on a bench during the Decision Day Rally in West Hollywood Park to celebrate the U.S Supreme Court decision on marriage on Friday, June 26, 2015.
Susanica Tam for KPCC
Decision Day Rally in West Hollywood Park to celebrate the U.S Supreme Court decision on marriage on Friday, June 26, 2015.
Gloria Allred speaks at the Decision Day Rally in West Hollywood Park to celebrate the U.S Supreme Court decision on marriage equality on Friday, June 26, 2015.
Susanica Tam for KPCC
Decision Day Rally in West Hollywood Park to celebrate the U.S Supreme Court decision on marriage on Friday, June 26, 2015.
The crowd listens to speakers at the Decision Day Rally in West Hollywood Park, on Friday, June 26, 2015.
Susanica Tam for KPCC
Decision Day Rally in West Hollywood Park to celebrate the U.S Supreme Court decision on marriage on Friday, June 26, 2015.
Onlookers line up to take photos with a man's humorous handmade sign during the Decision Day Rally in West Hollywood Park to celebrate the U.S Supreme Court decision on marriage equality on Friday, June 26, 2015.
Susanica Tam for KPCC
Decision Day Rally in West Hollywood Park to celebrate the U.S Supreme Court decision on marriage on Friday, June 26, 2015.
Decision Day Rally in West Hollywood Park to celebrate the U.S Supreme Court decision on marriage equality on Friday, June 26, 2015.
Susanica Tam for KPCC
Decision Day Rally in West Hollywood Park to celebrate the U.S Supreme Court decision on marriage on Friday, June 26, 2015.
The celebratory mood continued onto the streets of West Hollywood after the Decision Day rally ended on Friday, June 26, 2015.
Susanica Tam for KPCC


West Hollywood hugged, waved multicolor flags, snapped selfies and celebrated the Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling Friday that marriage is a right for gay and lesbian couples.  

Thousands turned out in West Hollywood Park for a rally in a city that has long been known as a pioneer for gay and lesbian rights. The Gay Men's Chorus performed as city and county leaders and activists addressed the crowd to mark the occasion.

"Since I was a young lawyer, I have carried a copy of the United States Constitution in my briefcase,'' Lorri Jean, CEO of the Los Angeles LGBT Center, told the crowd as she held the booklet-sized Constitution in her right hand. "Today, it finally includes us all."

Several speakers called for the audience to seize on the momentum to push for  issues affecting others, including transgender people and undocumented immigrants.  

"We welcome and join in celebrations nationwide, and applaud the Court and Justice (Anthony) Kennedy, in particular, for this ruling," said Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. "Ironically, gay marriage — and the values any sanctioned marriage encourages — may be one of the single most successful ways to promote safer sex," he added.

Los Angeles residents Ronnel Smith and Ben Coleman, came to the rally early to celebrate both the historic moment and Smith's birthday. 

Coleman said that he had seen the decision in the morning but had not expected it. "We didn't think it would pass," he said. He said after he heard the news he walked to local bakery, where he bought rainbow-colored cupcakes. 

Emily Barnes watched with her husband and 20-month-old son. She said the family drove an hour and a half from Ladera Heights to the rally.

"I just didn't want to sit and watch this on TV; I wanted to be here," she said. Barnes said her son may be too young to remember this day, but she wanted him to "grow up with this being normal," she said, looking out at the assortment of couples gathered at the park. 

"We waited 40 years," said Mario Tenes, came from Compton with his partner Paul Capozzi. "It's been a long time coming. It's been a long struggle," Tenes said. "It's like Christmas to us."  

Capozzi, 72, served in the Navy during the Vietnam war shared anecdotes of his experience of blatant discrimination toward gays when he was younger. They were unwelcome in restaurants and bars at the time he finished military service, and he knew people who were arrested for lewd behavior for "hugging in a parking lot."

He said he's attended many marches and some protests in the last four decades, and added that some of the younger people have "thanked us for paving the way" for Friday's decision. 

Capozzi said he particularly enjoyed seeing gay families in the crowd. adding that he would have liked to have raised children — although maybe not teenagers, he joked. 

"It's ok now, it's all ok now," he said.