Jubilation broke out on the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington and around the country Friday following the historic ruling making same-sex marriage legal.
Cheering and chants of "USA! USA!" were so loud outside the Court that Jim Obergefell — the face of the case challenging state bans on same-sex marriage — was barely audible.
“Today’s ruling affirms what millions of people across this country already know to be true in our hearts: Our love is equal,” Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in the case, said as supporters applauded him and his late partner of more than 20 years, John Arthur.
“It is my hope that the term gay marriage will soon be a thing of the past. It will simply be marriage. And our nation will be better for it.”
The crowd waved rainbow flags and sang "The Star Spangled Banner" as lawyers for the litigants took the microphone, thanking the justices who ruled 5-4 that refusing to grant marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples is a violation of the Constitution.
"The Supreme Court today welcomed same-sex couples fully into the American family," said James Esseks, director of the LGBT project at the American Civil Liberties Union.
Rosa Lopez, who lives in Washington, D.C., brought her sons to the court for the ruling.
"I'm more emotional than I thought I would be, to see them running down the steps, I'm speechless," she told NBC News.
Crystal Hardin, of Arlington, Va., brought her two young children to the steps of the Supreme Court for Friday's ruling.
"I've been a long-time supporter of marriage equality and I brought the kids because I figured the decision would go this way and I wanted them to be here," she told NBC News. ""I feel like in the future it will be important for them to know that they were here, we were supporting it."
Festivities erupted across the nation. Gay couples gathered at the Stonewall Inn, birthplace of the gay marriage movement in New York City's West Village, kissing and shedding tears of joy on the eve of the city's gay pride weekend.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said he will officiate two weddings for gay couples on the steps of City Hall on Friday to celebrate the ruling. Gay marriage has been legal in New York since 2011.
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In San Francisco's Castro District, Ngu Phan told NBC News he and his partner, with whom he has a son, "were waiting with bated breath."
"I'm so relieved. Just waiting for everyone to have the right. We wanted a story for our son," he said.
Mara Feeney, 64, has been with her partner for 45 years. She ran out into San Francisco's streets carrying a sign that read, "Thanks Supremes! For the best gay freedom week ever."
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In Dallas, judges said they would waive the normal 72-hour waiting period between receiving a marriage license and performing a marriage ceremony, allowing couples to be married on Friday. Courthouse hours were extended in anticipation of large crowds.
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The landmark decision is the biggest change to marriage laws since the court struck down state bans on interracial marriage nearly half a century ago.