As photos and videos celebrating last Friday’s historic SCOTUS ruling in favor of national marriage equality continue to flood the internet, this one really grabbed us. As tens of thousands of LGBT people, as well as friends and supporters of the community flocked to West Hollywood, Lorri Jean, CEO of the Los Angeles LGBT Center, stepped to the podium to declare, “Today is a victory of love!” to thunderous applause.
“Today was a magnificent defeat of bigotry and ignorance,” Jean added. “It was a crushing blow to the anti-LGBT movement that has built its might at the expense of our very lives—often and shamefully in the name of God. Well, it looks to me like if God is with anyone, she’s with us!”
Watch the love unfold below and scroll down to read Lorri Jean’s entire speech.
Welcome to West Hollywood on this phenomenal and historic day! We have gathered this evening in great relief and joy and celebration because today was a victory for love! After literally decades of blood, sweat and tears, the freedom to marry is now the law of the land. AND, for the first time in history, our nation’s highest court has said that we deserve the same rights and privileges as every other American! Since I was a young lawyer I have carried a copy of the United States Constitution in my briefcase. Today, it finally applies to us all!
Many of us spent much of our lives believing we would never live to see this day. But here we are. Just as the confederate flag is coming down the rainbow flag is rising and it’s about damn time!
Today was a magnificent defeat of bigotry and ignorance. It was a crushing blow to the anti-LGBT movement that has built its might at the expense of our very lives—often and shamefully in the name of God. Well, it looks to me like if God is with anyone, she’s with us!
History will judge this day as THE pivotal win in our unfinished battle for full and complete equality. Our road to this victory has not been easy, and it has been paved by the countless actions of many, both heroic and mundane. By transgender activists of color at the Stonewall Inn who’d finally had enough. By brave plaintiffs and brilliant attorneys who fought for our rights when there was little hope of victory. By activists and leaders on the front lines, who stood up for all of us. By LGBT people everywhere who dared to come out, including couples in small towns with no legal protections who raised children and lived honest and decent lives despite the bigotry they faced on a daily basis.
Today is a testament to all of these people. And to the growing number of straight allies who have stood beside us.
But as we celebrate, we cannot forget that our fight is far from over. In many states, employers still have the right to fire us and landlords can evict us. In almost every state, parents can force their LGBT children into damaging, so-called reparative therapy. Merchants can refuse to serve us. And haters continue to attack us–this year alone in our nation, 9 transgender women have been murdered. Plus, on this very day of progress, the LGBT Center in Memphis, Tennessee was informed by their district attorney that the man charged with civil rights violations for threatening to bomb their center and kill them was released on a harassment charge because LGBT people are not covered under Tennessee law. All these things are still happening just because of our sexual orientation or gender identity. Clearly, much work remains to be done!
But tonight we celebrate. We celebrate especially because today’s decision was about so much more than marriage. Today’s decision is proof that we can change the world. Today, at long last, justice has prevailed. The freedom to marry is ours!