An apartment at 18th and Valencia. Photo by Joe Rivano Barros.

In a 5-4 decision Friday morning, the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage throughout the United States — and the Mission cheered and promised a Pride Weekend like no other.

“It’s been a long time coming. I’m all about it. It’s awesome,” said Pat Murray, a Bi-Rite employee. “I woke up this morning, made a breakfast burrito, and when I saw the news I was just like ‘Ah!’ It was a good start to the day. It’s going to be a great weekend.”

“Por mi, esta bien,” said Ida Rivas, who works at the Family Factor clothing store on Mission. “It’s the same as a lady with a man — no problem.”

“I’m thrilled to death about it,” said Vic Pizarro, who has worked at the Mission Jewelry & Loan pawnshop for 30 years. “I’m astonished it came this quickly.”

The Supreme Court case, Obergefell v. Hodges, requires all states to provide marriage licenses to same-sex couples and to recognize valid same-sex marriages from other states, imparting all the legal rights of marriage to gay couples who choose to marry. And Missionites pointed out that this victory is more than symbolic.

“I’m especially thrilled for people living in the states where marriage was not formally legalized,” said Fairley Parson, who works at Openhouse, a non-profit dedicated to providing housing for LGBT people. “I’m particularly happy for binational couples who now have the opportunity to sponsor their spouses.”

Fairley Parson, Sylvia Vargas, and Abby Krumben of Openhouse, happy about the decision, but cognizant of the struggles ahead. Photo by Joe Rivano Barros.

Many saw this as a stepping stone in the larger struggle for LGBT rights, however, emphasizing the partial nature of this victory and the need to continue advocacy for all LGBT people.

“Marriage is not going to resolve the issue [of homophobia],” said Ani Rivera, executive director of Galería de la Raza, which has been dealing with repeated defacement of a mural portraying LGBT cholos. “It’s a tricky issue,” she said, adding that marriage equality would not solve issues with LGBT immigration or housing, for instance.

“It’s not like we’re going to wake up today and no one’s going to feel the need to be homophobic, no one’s going to feel the need to [deface this mural],” said Denise, a volunteer at Galería helping with the mural’s restoration. “I’m happy, I’m elated for it, but I’m still here on a Friday to clean up a mural.”

“Q-Sides” artist Vero Majano, who was subject to online harassment along with the mural’s artist for her current exhibit at Galería, said she was happily unmarried and that “haters” of the Galería’s art would be countered with love.

“The haters are gonna hate even more, but we’re gonna love more. If it were a pool, the hate would be the shallow part,” she said, “and all the love and support that the Galería has gotten is deep. You could float in it.”

Others agreed it was a partial victory.

“I’m really heartened and happy for the people who want to get married,” said Abby Krumben, another employee at Openhouse. “And I’m also recommitted to fighting for trans and queer people of color who fear violence in their everyday lives.”

“The struggle for LGBT immigrants continues. The time is now to focus on all LGBT struggles,” said Parson from Openhouse, later citing the recent booing of an undocumented trans activist who interrupted President Obama’s speech at the White House celebrating Pride Month. Parson said it was disappointing to see such a reaction from Obama and that it served as a further reminder of the work ahead.

Despite the struggles ahead, most seemed happy with today’s outcome and looked forward to Pride this weekend.

“It’s phenomenal news that we finally made it in,” said Dolores Park goer Tyler Burke.

“I’m proud to put my big gay pants on today,” said his nearby friend Payton Curry.

Payton Curry and Tyler Burke, visiting from Scottsdale for the weekend, relax in Dolores Park and await what's sure to be a special Pride celebration. Photo by Joe Rivano Barros.
Payton Curry and Tyler Burke, visiting from Scottsdale for the weekend, relax in Dolores Park and await what’s sure to be a special Pride celebration. Photo by Joe Rivano Barros.

Emma Neiman contributed reporting.

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Joe was born in Sweden, where half of his family received asylum after fleeing Pinochet, and spent his early childhood in Chile; he moved to Oakland when he was eight. He attended Stanford University for political science and worked at Mission Local as a reporter after graduating. He then spent time in advocacy as a partner for the strategic communications firm The Worker Agency. He rejoined Mission Local as an editor in 2023.

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1 Comment

  1. Obama’s reaction was not because he has no sympathy for transgender deportations. His response was in reaction to a rude and offensive heckler who continued to be disruptive and who chose the wrong time and place to attack him.

    Obama has done more for the LGBT community than ANY other president and he can only fight a strategic number of battles at a time. It was naive of that person to misunderstand politics in that way. Obama needs to take the entire battle, divide it into bite size chunks and fight the battles he can win piece by piece and move slowly to the left. To go far left (even though it’s the right thing to do) would have mobilized the far right in a way that perhaps could have put the same sex marriage issue at risk.

    This person was disruptive, offensive and disrespectful. Had they yelled out “President Obama, I need your help with transgender deportations, can you PLEASE help me too?” that person may very well have got a different reaction from the president. Instead that person kept yelling over him and was bad mannered to our President.

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