Some snapshots of Americans reacting to Friday’s Supreme Court ruling declaring that same-sex couples have a right to marry in all 50 states.
Customers at a Dallas comic-book store were confronted by a sign Friday warning that Red Pegasus Games & Comics might open late because the owners were “waiting at the courthouse to see if the Supreme Court is going to let us get married.”
Kenneth Denson, 38, and Gabriel Mendez, 33, have been together for 15 years.
They had a nonbinding commitment ceremony 10 years ago in Dallas, and they were legally married in 2013 in California, but they still wanted to do the same in Texas.
“We’re Texans,” Denson said. “We want to get married in Texas.”
They were married Friday afternoon, giving each other a high-five as a judge signed their marriage certificate. They planned to eat lunch and head back to work.
The celebration began early and built throughout the day in San Francisco, a city at the vanguard of the fight for gay rights.
Workers draped a giant rainbow flag over the front door of City Hall, where then-Mayor Gavin Newsom ignited a legal challenge to California’s same-sex marriage ban 11 years ago by ordering clerks to marry a gay couple in defiance of state law.
The California Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in 2013 after several legal setbacks, including the passage of Proposition 8, which briefly banned same-sex weddings in the state.
Newsom, who is now California’s lieutenant governor, reminisced at a news conference about that Valentine’s Day when he hoped that his action would spark a legal challenge.
“We were hoping to humanize the issue,” Newsom said of the first marriage performed at City Hall on Feb. 14, 2004.
Newsom said he’s proud of not waiting but that he couldn’t imagine then that gay marriage would be legalized nationwide.
“I’d like to say I expected this day,” Newsom said. “I didn’t. We hit a lot of rough patches along the way.”
A small number of same-sex marriage opponents protested the Supreme Court decision by unfurling a banner on a freeway overpass across the San Francisco Bay in Berkeley.
The judge who struck down Arkansas’ gay-marriage ban last year presided Friday over one of the state’s first same-sex weddings after the Supreme Court’s historic ruling.
Pulaski County Judge Chris Piazza married two men in a brief ceremony in his Little Rock courtroom. He said it was the only same-sex wedding he planned to conduct.
“I looked at their faces and realized how much this meant to them,” Piazza said.
The couple, Tony Chiaro, 73, and Earnie Matheson, 65, have been together 26 years. They said they sought out Piazza because of his ruling last year.
“We could have gone off and done it somewhere else … but it meant so much to do it here,” Matheson said.
The Supreme Court’s ruling comes a little over a year after Piazza struck down a 2004 voter-approved amendment and an earlier state law defining marriage as between a man and a woman.
More than 500 couples were married in the week following Piazza’s ruling before it was suspended by the state Supreme Court pending a review. State justices have not issued a ruling.
Louisiana has been at the forefront of efforts to oppose same-sex marriages, and the Catholic bishop of Lafayette carried on with those efforts Friday.
Bishop Michael Jarrell issued a statement calling on Catholics to not attend same-sex weddings, saying “civil disobedience may be a proper response” in some cases.
Jarrell said the ruling leaves Catholics who perform official duties with “conscience problems.”
The bishop also said Catholic properties would not be allowed to “be used for the solemnization of same-sex marriage.”
Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican running for the White House, called the ruling overreach by the Supreme Court.
“Marriage between a man and a woman was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that,” Jindal said. “If we want to save some money let’s just get rid of the court.”
Friday’s ruling was a bittersweet victory for Richard Carlbom, who led efforts to defeat a Minnesota gay marriage ban in 2012 and then legalize it in 2013 before becoming director of state campaigns for Freedom to Marry.
“I have three months to wind down my work. The organization will probably close our doors in six to 12 months,” Carlbom said. “Isn’t it wonderful when a nonprofit organization has to go out of business?”
Carlbom married in 2013 and had to deal with uncertainty while traveling and when his husband began graduate school in Ohio, where his marriage wasn’t recognized.
“If something happens to me, he’s not my spouse in the eyes of Ohio,” he said. “I’m a 33-year-old married man whose parents would have to be called in to help make medical decisions. The court recognized that today.”
Timothy Love was at the head of the line in Louisville, Kentucky, to obtain a marriage license with his partner of 35 years.
When the paperwork was completed, cheers went up as Love and Larry Ysunza walked out of the county clerk’s office with the license they had been denied in the past. Love was the lead plaintiff in the case that led a federal judge in Kentucky to strike down the state’s ban on gay marriage – a precursor to Friday’s ruling by the Supreme Court.
“I think we have set an example in our 35 years of how a couple should stick together,” Love said.
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear told the state’s county clerks Friday to immediately issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
“Neither your oath nor the Supreme Court dictates what you must believe,” Beshear said in a letter. “But as elected officials, they do prescribe how we must act.”
Associated Press writers Jamie Stengle in Dallas; Paul Elias in San Francisco; Claudia Lauer in Little Rock, Arkansas; Cain Burdeau in New Orleans; Brian Bakst in St. Paul, Minnesota; and Bruce Schreiner in Louisville contributed to this report.
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press.