Hundreds met at the West Hollywood Park on North San Vicente Boulevard on Wednesday evening to celebrate the Proposition 8 verdict. The crowd was rallied by speeches from mayors John Heilman and Antonio Villaraigosa, screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, Chad Griffin of Americans for Equal Rights, lawyers Ted Olson and David Boies, and plaintiffs Sandy Stier, Kris Perry, Paul Katami, and Jeff Zarrillo.
The plaintiffs shared moving personal stories and expressed gratitude to their families and communities for their support throughout the process. Jeff Zarrillo spoke humbly, saying "Paul and I aren't out to change the world. Equality is something this nation has always been about. It's what we read about in school. It's what our ancestors came to this country in search of. This decision brings Paul and I, and so many others, that much closer to equality too." Zarrillo then introduced his partner Paul as "the person I plan to marry as soon as possible." Paul held back tears, admitting "It's going to be my goal to get through this without crying."
Kris Perry praised the decision as validation that "We, too, are Americans. We, too, should be treated equally. Our family is just as loving, just as real, and jut as valid as everyone else's." Her partner, Sandy Stier, later added, "We do realize other courts will weigh in on this matter, but tonight we will go to sleep knowing that our hopes and dreams are that much closer to becoming a reality."
Legal dream team Ted Olson and David Boies were given a hero's welcome when they took to the podium. Olson boasted proudly of Boies' cross-examination skills, saying, "he so unmercifully dismantled the opposing witnesses that the first day of trial, our very worthy and capable opponents decided that most of their witnesses couldn't make it to California." Boies ended by speaking for both of them, saying "I know that for Ted and myself, this has been the most satisfying case of [our] career.
LGBT activist group the Courage Campaign was also in attendance, as well as country singer Chely Wright. The park was filled with couples, families with children, and pets. The mood was jubilant and grateful as cheers, bull horns, and frequent applause punctuated the rally. After the speeches were over, Springsteen's "Born In The USA" blared out over the speakers as the crowd swarmed Santa Monica Boulevard for a drink and a bite to eat.