Gay Rights Advocate on DOMA Decision: ‘It Feels Wicked, Wicked Good’
Hundreds of gay rights supporters swarmed the steps of Cambridge City Hall after the Supreme Court ruled the Act unconstitutional.
Standing before hundreds of gay rights supporters on the steps of Cambridge City Hall on Wednesday, the same place where the nation’s first legal marriage applications were filed in 2004, Kara Suffredini, executive director of MassEquality, said the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act was “a long time coming.”
“This is about fairness, and dignity, and about the core aspects of our basic humanity,” she said, drawing applause from the crowd, which was dotted with rainbow flags, umbrellas flecked with rain drops, and large signs reading “Yay!,” as revelers stood shoulder-to-shoulder on the lawn along Massachusetts Avenue.
Hours after the court’s decision was handed down in a 5-4 vote in Washington, D.C., allowing same-sex marriages to be recognized on a federal level, supporters gathered in Cambridge to share the historic occasion together.
During her speech, Suffredini joked that she didn’t know when the event was going to happen, or if the outcome would be a positive one. “We weren’t sure if we were going to have a celebration, or a vigil,” she said. “But today was a long time coming. Many years ago, people did not think this day was possible, but here we are.”
The celebration was hosted by Cambridge’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Commission and members of MassEquality, and featured speakers from several different advocacy groups, as well as former and current elected officials from the city.
Halfway through the rally, a heavy rain came down on the crowd, but it wasn’t enough to deter the celebration, as dozens of couples embraced one another, taking cover together under their umbrellas while continuing to cheer for the speakers.
Standing at the podium in the rain, Erika Scibelli, who was there on behalf of the Family Equality Council, said the decision was a big step in the right direction, however, more still needs to be done. “But today, the Supreme Court validated and affirmed my family and yours,” she said to the crowd. “And let me tell you, it feels wicked good. It feels wicked, wicked good.”
Scibelli was 12-years-old when her mother, who was married to Scibelli’s father at the time, came out. She said while it changed her life, she believes that the change was exactly what her family needed. “I have seen my family grow and flourish in the face of adversity,” she said. “I have always said that in Massachusetts, we know how to start a revolution…it is evident another revolutions is under way—a revolution of love.”
Suffredini returned to the podium at the end of the celebration after the rain cleared, and said that love should be on the same level as heterosexual couples, both in law, and in life. “I think we can eliminate the term ‘gay marriage’ from the vocabulary as if it’s a different type of marriage,” she said. “Because what we have now is full marriage.”