Celebration time for marriage advocates

As soon as the state Supreme Court announced Thursday morning that same-sex couples had a constitutional right to marry, the celebration began on the steps of City Hall with crowds of gay men and lesbians cheering and sobbing. Some said they were exhausted from weeks of sleepless anxiety, waiting on the court ruling.

“Oh my god, I just love her so much,” sobbed Jeanne Rizzo, 62, of Tiburon, speaking of her 19-year partner Pali Cooper. “It’s been a long four years. And now I finally know I’m going to marry her.”

Diane Ramone, a Mission district resident, could not stop from shouting, “Yes, we do!”

Shelaughed, she cried. She hadn’t slept since Tuesday, she said.

“And here we are. We’re actually here,” Ramone said. “We’re equal.”

After hearing the news, David Chandler, a 44-year-old San Mateo resident, raced for his car. Though he was ecstatic to learn he could officially tie the knot with Jeff, his longtime partner, he had two young sons back at home and a babysitter about to be off-duty.

“All I want to do right now is get home and tell my kids about how lucky they are to live in a state as great as California,” Chandler said.

Hours later, a post-work crowd began to gather at the San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community Center in the Castro to pick up the party.

Hundreds of people packed the room and hundreds more overflowed out into the street as political, religious and community leaders cheered the decision by the state’s highest court, which overruled a 2000 voter-approved ban on gay marriage.

“I love this city so much,” said a tearful Kate Kendell, executive director for the National Center forLesbian Rights, to the crowd.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

Examiner Staff Writer John Upton contributed to this report.

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