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San Diego celebrates the fall of Prop 8 and DOMA

SAN DIEGO – Hundreds of joyful people gathered this afternoon in Hillcrest to celebrate two landmark Supreme Court rulings that advance the rights of marriage equality.

First meeting at the now-iconic Hillcrest Pride Flag, at the corner of University and Normal Street, the celebrants cheered enthusiastically as speakers explained how momentous today’s rulings would become in American history. The high court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and ruled that supporters of California’s Proposition 8 had no legal standing to appeal Judge Vaugh Walker’s ruling that the law was unconstitutional.

Speakers included Eric Alan Isaacson, a local attorney who specializes in LGBT issues, and Cathy Comack of Canvass for a Cause.

"Today we celebrate as a community. I remember when Massachussetts became first state to legalize marriage and it's my first memory of positive news about the gay community. We celebrate this moment and it's not the president or congress we thank but the people," Comack said.

"Thank you to everyone who didn't give up when Prop 8 passed," said Alvie Padilla, a local transgender activist. "There is still a lot to be done. Transgender people still can be fired legally. Take the energy from today, raise a fuss, celebrate, then put that energy in the struggle because we are winning!"

The Rev. Gerald Green from Unity Fellowship, who is African-American, inspired the crowd with his preacher-style of delivery. He grabbed the crowd's heart when he said, "Neighbor, you are a change agent." And followed with, "Makes no difference how you get the truth, just make sure you get it!"

Karen Guzman, a community organizer for San Diego DREAM Team, asked for a moment of silence for our ancestors who are no longer with us to share this special moment in history.

The San Diego Women's Chorus sang at the first rally, including "Freedom Is Coming."

Some people dressed in colorful costumes, and others draped rainbow flags, Old Glory and the California state flag over their shoulders. Some dusted off their "No on 8" street signs or made homemade posters, including several people who quoted gay icon Harvey Milk: "I am all of us!"

After the rally, community members marched down Normal Street to Harvey Milk Street, the first city street in America to be named after the LGBT icon, and on to The Center for a second celebration. SDGLN will publish that story Thursday morning.

Meanwhile, observers noticed a heavy police presence, including at least seven motorcycle officers. But nary an anti-gay protester could be seen anywhere, and the officers had little to do other than worry about crowd control.

Benny_Cartwright's Day of Decision Rally album on Photobucket

Photos by Jim Winsor/SDGLN