Doors opened early this morning at the Abbey, a gay bar in West Hollywood where people gathered to watch the Supreme Court rule that part of the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional by denying federal benefits to same-sex couples.
The watch party began at 6:30 a.m. Champagne was flowing and free wedding cake was available throughout the day.
Anne Chamberlain, who celebrated after watching the decision at home, recalled how more than 20 years ago when she was a gay-rights activist in college, a reporter asked her what she wanted to achieve.
“I told them I wanted the rights for gays to marry, serve in the military and protection of violence, and I saw all of this in my lifetime,” Chamberlain said.
She married Megan Cavanagh in 2008 during the period of time when gay marriage was legal in California before voters approved Proposition 8. (The high court paved the way for a return of same-sex marriage by dismissing an appeal to Prop. 8) They take comfort in knowing that their marriage is now recognized federally.
Emily Reitz and Maureen Carroll at the Abbey in West Hollywood.
Some couples, like Troy Taylor, 44, and Teador Balog, 26, said the ruling means they feel more comfortable starting a family in this country. They were married in Washington D.C. but were worried that their marriage wasn’t federally recognized. Balog is a Hungarian citizen and now it will be easier for him to gain citizenship if he ever seeks to do so.
“The decision allows us to build a life together as a family,” Taylor said.
Emily Reitz, 28, and Maureen Carroll, 37, have been engaged for just over a year and plan to get married on Sept. 1.
“We had been planning on getting married no matter what, and we wanted it to be recognized,” Reitz said.
Reitz was raised Jewish although she no longer goes to synagogue. She plans to have a nondenominational wedding but said that they will definitely break the glass after the ceremony.
Reitz and Carroll said they look forward to celebrating tonight at 5:30 p.m. at a rally at San Vicente and Santa Monica boulevards.