What a whirlwind day it has been! Across the nation, and throughout the media, our communities are celebrating the decision of U.S. District Court Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who issued his decision in the Perry V. Schwarzenegger yesterday, striking down Proposition 8 as unconstitutional. You can read Judge Walker’s full decision here.

This decision is a big step towards marriage equality and we have plenty of reason to celebrate, but we have a long road ahead of us. After yesterday’s ruling, advocates on both sides expect the case to be heard by the 9th Circuit Appeals Court and possibly, the U.S. Supreme Court.  As we celebrate this victory in California, we cannot rest in our efforts to make our voices heard on marriage equality, because our opponents have been quick sound off.

These opponents to marriage equality were quick to deploy their hateful rhetoric after the decision came down. Shortly after the decision was announced, the anti-equality group Concerned Women for America lashed out, saying:

“Homosexual activists use same-sex ‘marriage’ as a political juggernaut to indoctrinate young children in schools to reject their parent’s values and to harass, sue and punish people who disagree.”

Of course, pro-equality voices also rang out yesterday. HRC President Joe Solmonese joined the voices of those recognizing the importance of this decision. “After hearing extensive evidence in support of marriage equality, and essentially no defense of the discrimination wrought by Prop 8,” Said Solmonese. “Judge Walker reached the same conclusion we have always known to be true – the Constitution’s protections are for all Americans, including the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.”

HRC President Joe Solmonese discusses prop 8 victory with Keith Olbermann

As San Francisco couples quickly found out, it is still too soon to celebrate complete victory; Judge Walker gave the opposition until Friday to make an argument to an appeals court before the stay on same-sex marriage is lifted in the state. This hasn’t stopped our community from celebrating. Throughout California and spreading across the nation, people joyously proclaimed their support of this decision in the streets, on the web and at home with their families.

It takes a lot to ensure that our rights our protected. This may not have been possible without the efforts of Kristin Perry, Sandy Stier, Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo – the couples involved in this case who stood up for their love even when it was difficult. We would love for you to join us in thanking these couples for the journey that they have been through to make this all possible.

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story