Pittsburgh Crowd Cheers Gay Marriage Decisions

Jun 26, 2013

Deborah Diedrich (left) and Nancy Holston, who have been together some 33 years, celebrate during a rally on Liberty Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh Wednesday following the Supreme Court's decision to strike down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
Credit Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

At least 250 people gathered on a downtown Pittsburgh street closed for the occasion were cheering U.S. Supreme Court decisions on gay marriage.

City Councilman Bruce Kraus told the crowd Wednesday morning, "To my fellow gay, lesbian, transsexual and queer friends, welcome to full equality."

City police have issued a permit for Wednesday's rally on Liberty Avenue, during which a portion of the busy downtown artery was to remain closed from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh organized the rally, which was called "Riot or Rejoice."

Mackenzie Greenert of Bloomfield was celebrating in the street with her girlfriend Erika McCue, who called it “a human rights victory for all people.”

Greenert said she was “overwhelmed.”

“Being a young gay person, this is just amazing to see, and even these older generations out here — I can’t even imagine how much it means to them," she said, "but I’m so excited and so hopeful for this future."

The Supreme Court struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which kept married same-sex-couples from receiving some legal benefits that heterosexual couples receive, while another decision left in place a trial court's decision that California's Proposition 8 banning gay marriage is unconstitutional.

In that second case, the justices cleared the way for same-sex marriage in California by holding that defenders of California's gay marriage ban did not have the right to appeal lower court rulings striking down the ban.

The court's 5-4 ruling in that case left in place the initial trial court declaration that the ban was unconstitutional. California officials probably will rely on that ruling to allow the resumption of same-sex unions in about a month's time.