At the corner of Castro and Market streets, the gay heart of San Francisco, horns honked, rainbow flags waved, and there were happy hoots and smiles all around Wednesday.
The big celebration of Proposition 8’s demise at the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court wasn’t scheduled for hours, but no one here seemed to need official sanction for their marriage equality jubilation.
Smart phones and real cameras alike were pointed at the Castro Theater, whose marquee proclaimed, “Equality will bring us together.”
Even the homeless people sitting on the sidewalk seemed vaguely happy. “Welcome to the Bay Area,” said one disheveled man to no one in particular as he sipped a 40-ounce malt liquor and puffed a cigarillo.
“It’s history, you know, today,” said a man outside the Twin Peaks, a historic gay bar on the historic corner. He declined to give his name, he said, because “I’m not THAT gay. I’m happy, but my partner and I won’t get married.”
Still, he said, before wandering off, the ability for gays and lesbians to marry is welcome progress.
“It’s fair. It’s that way already for them,” he said, referring to heterosexual couples who have been able to marry since time immemorial.
Jerry James Stone, a 39-year-old food blogger who lives in the neighborhood, said he was awakened early by the whump-whump of news helicopters, blaring horns and loud cheers.
“I knew what was happening even before I checked Twitter,” he said. “I think we can’t have progress without equality. This is another step in that direction.”
Stone said he has high hopes for humanity’s onward march.
“I look forward to what we can do next, now that these barriers are down.... I look forward to getting married someday,” he said. “I look forward to having the same rights as everyone else.”
Said Harley Paul, who moved from the Fairfax neighborhood in Los Angeles to the Castro neighborhood in San Francisco in 1966: “It’s a long time coming. It’s just catching up to affirm that we’re all equal.
“Whether you want to marry or not, you have the equal opportunity,” he said, shading his eyes from the summer sunshine. “It’s pretty basic.”
It’s also, he said, pretty “exciting.”
[For the record, 11:04 a.m. PDT, June 27, 2013: In a previous version of this post, Jerry James Stone was incorrectly identified as Jerry Jamestone.]