April DeBoer wrapped her arms around her partner Jayne Rowse as they locked their eyes on giant screen erected in the LGBT community center in the heart of Ann Arbor in their home state of Michigan. Around them, a crush of supporters in multicolored shirts chatted in hushed tones, awaiting the Supreme Court’s historic decision on the couple’s case.
The crowd braced anxiously.
“Anybody know any jokes?” the couple’s lawyer, Dana Nessel quipped, breaking a lengthy silence. She laughed, then added, “I think I’m going to vomit.”
Moments later, at 10:01am, the text of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s transcribed decision popped up on the screen.
“[The] Fourteenth Amendment requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex,” DeBoer and Rowse both read aloud, visibly melting with elation and nervous release. “And to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when a marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out of state.”
Whistles and applause erupted around the room. “It’s 5-4!” Somebody cried, referring to the justices’ opinions ruling in favor and against. The phrases “I can’t believe it,” “Oh my God,” and “victory” were repeated in the minutes that followed.