Two men married tonight before hundreds of people in a hot, loud and packed Celebration Community Church in Fort Worth.
But you couldn’t tell anyone was uncomfortable. There were too many tears.
“By the powers invested in me by the state of Texas,” the Rev. Carol West said to a cheering crowd, she pronounced the couple husband and husband.
The couple kissed.
“It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood,” West yelled to the crowd.
Shortly after, West’s long-time partner, Angela, surprised the pastor with a proposal. West accepted and a little later, showing off her new ring to a friend, she quipped with a smile, “She went to Jarrod.”
Inside the church, Jesse Contreas was still floored. He married his husband a year ago in New Mexico. Now they can renew their vows here, in Fort Worth. At Celebration.
Contreas works in HIV prevention. His office celebrated when they learned the Supreme Court’s decision.
“Those of us who knew the struggle knew this was an awesome day for the LGBT community,” he said.
Tori Kujala and I talked outside of the church about her feelings.
“I said it on Facebook best, ‘free at last, free at last, Great God above, free at last,'” the 2014 Tarrant County Pride grand marshal said.
She was at work, like most other people I talked to, when she heard the news.
Her boss actually told her when the news struck.
Kathryn Omarkhail and Denise Bennett walked up and were holding hands.
They looked like any other couple there. They were enthusiastic because their marriage is finally acknowledged by their home state.
In 2005, they were barreling on Interstate 35 past Calvary Cathedral while then-Gov. Rick Perry signed the state’s ban on same-sex marriage ban, Omarkhail said. They were driving by in U-Hauls. While Perry celebrated another campaign plank that summer, they were married and moving in together.
Don Kennedy may have been joking when he asked if pastors had set themselves on fire.
“I know plenty of people ready to roast their weenies over a spit fire,” he said. He was joking.
The feeling was palpable for any veteran of the movement for LGBT equality. Even in modern day LGBT debates, the nasty rhetoric is just part of the process. Still, it stings.
Today, June 26, 2015, wherever you were, it really was a beautiful day in the neighborhood.