Dozen of marriage equality supporters gathered Wednesday evening to react to the Supreme Court’s decision that the nearly two decade old Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, is unconstitutional.
Speeches inside a steamy First English Lutheran Church in Syracuse mixed between celebration and rally cries to continue pushing for equality.
Toward the end, Cherie Ackerson gave an impromptu speech to the crowd. She recalled marching in a gay rights rally in Syracuse several years ago and spoke of how far the movement has come.
"Now our celebration is so beautiful and stunning and open and filled with diversity and just so exciting. I never thought this day would come in our lifetime," she said while getting choked up.
New York state legalized gay marriage in 2011. The Supreme Court's ruling means gay couples in New York will now be able to receive federal benefits that straight couples are entitled to.
"It is still the case that half the population of the United States lives in a state where it’s legal to discriminate against them," said Bruce Carter, head of CNY Pride. "And we need to fight to see that those laws are overturned as well."
DOMA was signed into law in 1996. It barred the federal government from recognizing same sex marriages.