On Tuesday morning, thousands of San Franciscans celebrated as the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Proposition 8 -- the voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage -- is unconstitutional.
"I celebrate the decision by the Ninth Circuit Court today," said Mayor Ed Lee in a statement. "This is a great day of marriage equality and a great day for California families. The Court affirmed today that there is nothing in the Constitution that allows discrimination and we are on the way to protecting the fundamental rights of everyone in our State."
Though all of California will be affected by the ruling, the decision is especially important in San Francisco, where the local government and community have fought tirelessly for marriage equality for over a decade.
Same-sex marriage was briefly legalized in San Francisco in 2004, when then-mayor Gavin Newsom ordered the county clerk to issue marriages licenses to same-sex couples. Thousands of couples rushed to San Francisco's City Hall, but Newsom's decision was quickly overturned by the California Supreme Court. Later, in 2008, the California Supreme Court deemed same-sex marriages legal under the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution, but voters overruled the decision with the passing of Proposition 8 later that year. San Francisco, led by voices like City Attorney Dennis Herrera, has fought for marriage equality in the California Constitution ever since.
"San Francisco stands ready to begin marrying same sex couples, and we remain as deeply committed to the fight for marriage equality today as we did nearly eight years ago when then Mayor Gavin Newsom started one of the most important civil rights issues of our generation to ensure equality for all," said Lee.
Bay Area residents also celebrated the historic decision.
"We're thrilled," said David Mundy, an Oakland resident who married his longtime partner in 2008 during the window same-sex marriage was legal in San Francisco, to The Huffington Post. "This is a great first step and we welcome it."
However, Mundy noted that gay rights advocates still have a long way to go in their fight for equality. "We won't be truly satisfied until everyone everywhere has the right to be legally married," he said. "Our true goal is to have legal marriage in all 50 states."
See photos of San Francisco celebrating Tuesday's historic moment in the slideshow below:
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