Castro Street Shut Down For Marriage Equality Celebration Tonight

Members of the LGBT community and their supporters will gather in San Francisco’s Castro District this evening to celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings on Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act.

The rally starts at 6:30 p.m. with a “victory stage” at Market and Castro streets featuring multiple speakers, and there will be performances on a second stage at 19th and Castro streets, Marriage Equality USA national media director Stuart Gaffney said.

Tonight’s rally is expected to be electric, as enthusiasm levels are already high, he said.

“Our community has been on pins and needles for weeks and weeks now. We woke up this morning to wonderful news but I think a lot of us are still taking it in,” Gaffney said.

Gaffney has been with his partner John Lewis, a Marriage Equality USA board member, for 26 years now and the two recently celebrated their five-year wedding anniversary.

“This decision means the world to us. Many of us are feeling, for the first time, we have the full rights of citizenship,” Gaffney said.

Volunteers wearing fluorescent orange vests will help patrol the neighborhood, but given the nature of the ruling, security should be easy, he said.

Invitations have been sent to San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, members of the Board of Supervisors and other civic leaders, Gaffney said.

Starting around 5 p.m., Castro Street will be closed between Market and 19th streets, and 18th Street will be shut down between Collingwood and Hartford streets, according to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

The rally is organized by a coalition of groups including Marriage Equality USA, March4Equality and Unite Here Local 2.

Jamey Padojino, Bay City News

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