Today, the sun is shining a little brighter on the Golden State because by overturning Prop 8, a federal judge has affirmed what a majority of Californians know to be true: love doesn't discriminate.
It knows no limits or boundaries, and it is blind to race, religion, color, creed or gender. Today, we recognize that marriage is not a privilege reserved for a select class of citizens, but a right that belongs to all Californians.
Our State has always been mythologized as a place where dreams come true. From the earliest settlers who braved months of travel across mountains and deserts, to the Forty-Niners who came here to make their fortunes, from the Dust Bowl refugees who forged west to rebuild their lives, to those who continue to come here today -- from all over the world -- in pursuit of a dream.
California has always represented the best of what our country has to offer: opportunity, diversity, tolerance, and above all else, the uniquely American notion that with a little sweat and a little luck, even the most far-fetched dream can become a reality.
I've always said that, here in California, it doesn't matter where your family came from. It doesn't matter who your father was. It doesn't matter if, like me, you never really had a father. And it certainly doesn't matter if you've got two of them!
Because here in California, we value each and every individual for what he or she contributes to our society. Here in California, like the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. dreamed over half a century ago, we judge a person "by the content of his character," by the courage of his convictions, integrity, truthfulness, and sincerity.
Today isn't just a great day for the LGBT community and those of us who have long supported marriage equality, today is a great day for all of California. The Proposition 8 trial put real faces to the true stories of men and women across the country, who have dealt every day with the tragic reality that their relationships are seen as different -- even inferior -- in the eyes of the law.
People like Perry v. Schwarzenegger plaintiffs Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, who have been partnered for over a decade and raised four children together. People like Bill Bowersock, who, like far too many Americans, was denied Social Security Survivor Benefits, because his domestic partnership was seen as insufficient, despite 32 years of love and companionship.
Thousands of same-sex couples throughout California and across the country have for far too long been told -- whether tacitly or explicitly -- that their relationships are irrelevant or inadequate. But today in California, that finally changes.
Today, it has been affirmed by a federal court that:
"...because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional."
Without a doubt, this is a momentous mile-marker on the long road to LGBT equality, but this doesn't mean there won't be more speed-bumps -- or even roadblocks -- along the way. And although today is a cause for celebration, we must recognize that the road ahead of us is still a long one.
This fight isn't just about marriage equality; It's about respect, tolerance, and acceptance through every stage of life. It's about understanding that being gay or lesbian isn't a "lifestyle choice," it is something as innate and immutable as the color of your skin. It's about recognizing that no person chooses whom they love.
And so long as a person can be fired for being gay, or a kid can be threatened at school because of her sexual orientation, we will not have crossed the finish line.
But today, finally, we can proudly say -- once again -- that California is a place where dreams come true for everyone.
Follow Antonio Villaraigosa on Twitter: www.twitter.com/villaraigosa