New Yorkers gathered at Stonewall Inn, the historical landmark of the gay-rights movement, on Wednesday night to cheer the dismantling of DOMA.
Strangers shared hugs, children waved equal-sign flags and bottles of champagne sat open on the street as dozens of people stood outside, celebrating.
Marni Halasa navigated the crowd in a wedding dress, describing herself as a political performance artist.
“It’s been a long time coming,” she said of the Supreme Court decision.
Nick Accrocco, visiting from Houston, came downtown from a friend’s apartment in Hell’s Kitchen to check out the festivities.
“This is a big night for us,” he said, calling the atmosphere “wonderful” before ducking into Stonewall Inn.
For Lance and Mike Maxwell, the vote was personal – the two moved from Los Angeles after gay marriage was no longer legal, arriving in New York in 2009.
“It killed me,” Lance Maxwell said. “We didn’t feel welcome there anymore.”
The couple has been together for 34 years.
They told Metro of finding out in 2008 that voters in California had reversed the state legalization of gay marriage.
“He asked, ‘Are we still married?’” remembered Mike Maxwell. “I said, ‘I don’t know.'"
A woman interrupted to congratulate the couple, saying she had arrived solo in honor of two brothers who died of AIDS.
“I’m here,” she said, “they’re with me.”
Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter @reporteralison