MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) — Local supporters of same sex marriage celebrated with cheers and tears of joy as the Supreme Court of the United States ruled the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional on Wednesday morning.
Later in the afternoon, local supporters of gay rights plan to hold a rally outside the old Miami Beach City Hall.
The Supreme Court’s first opinion came just before 10 a.m. and volunteers of the organization, Save Dade, an anti-discrimination organization that fights for LGBT causes, celebrated as they heard the news.
Same sex marriage supporter Jeff Ronci said, “I dreamed all of my life that the law of the land, the United States of America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, where all men and women are created equal, that it would apply to people like me.”
The move gave same-sex couples the same federal benefits given to married couples of the opposite sex.
ACLU LGBT Staff Attorney Daniel Tilley said, “It will affect you for many benefits and for others it will not affect you, so you will get some of them but not all.”
The attorney added, some of these benefits would not be recognized in states where the marriage is not recognized, like Florida.
Catholic reaction included this statement from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops: “The Court got it wrong. The federal government ought to respect the truth that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, even where states fail to do so.”
Archbishop Thomas Wenski of the Archdiocese of Miami said, “[This decision] will open a Pandora’s box of unforeseen and, to be sure, unintended consequences, as the more permissive, no-fault divorce legislation did some 40 years ago.”
Among those who will enjoy these benefits are the residents of California. The Supreme Court also ruled the gay marriage ban in California, known as Proposition 8, was unconstitutional on Wednesday.
The Supreme Court said, Proposition 8 defenders didn’t have the right to appeal lower court rulings but same-sex marriage supporters said they could have made a more direct ruling by affirming the lower court’s decision or by going a step further and addressing whether the constitution requires that states allow same-sex marriage.
Director of Save Dade C.J. Ortuño said, “Whenever there is an opportunity for a body of government to make a decision about fairness and equality and to make a decision that would include all Americans, we look for those opportunities, but unfortunately that was not reached today.”
Despite the decisions made by the Supreme Court on Wednesday, they were still well received by the gay and lesbian community of South Florida.
The celebration kicked off at 6 p.m. at the LGBT Visitor Center, on the corner of Washington Avenue and 12th Street in Miami Beach.