A plaque outside the Black Cat in Silver Lake with a note of thanks. (MIKEY HIRANO CULROSS/Rafu Shimpo)
By MIKEY HIRANO CULROSS, Rafu Staff Writer
Friday’s historic Supreme Court judgment was met with swift and elated reaction across Southern California.
Paul Katami and husband Jeff Zarrillo were among the plaintiffs who challenged Proposition 8, the voter voter-approved measure that sought to ban same-sex marriages in California. The measure was ruled unconstitutional in state and district courts, and on June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal of the rulings. Two days later, Katami and Zarrillo were married at Los Angeles City Hall in a ceremony officiated by Mayor Antonio Villariagosa.
On Friday, Katami posted a photo on his Facebook page of the couple celebrating as the news of the latest Supreme Court decision flashed across their television.
“Our hearts are full! A monumental day for our country,” Katami wrote.
The Pasadena Pride Center was planning a rally for Friday evening to celebrate the decision. Aaron Saenz of the center released a statement that read in part, “We are so very happy that the Supreme Court today has acknowledged the humanity of all LGBT people and their right to be with the ones that they love with the full array of legal advantages that come along with the institution of marriage. This is not an end to all discrimination, but the court has broken one of the bigger bricks in that ugly wall.”
In the Silver Lake district of Los Angeles, a historical marker is posted on a wall outside the Black Cat restaurant, the former site of the Black Cat Tavern. The plaque commemorates what is believed to be the first-ever documented LGBT civil rights demonstration in the country. The gathering was organized on Feb. 11, 1967, in response to raid at the bar during a New Year’s Eve party in January. Several police officers in plain clothes attended the party and arrested and beat scores of patrons who were kissing after the stroke of midnight.
On Friday, multi-colored roses and pink ribbons were taped to wall nest to the plaque, along with a small sign reading “Thank You.” At the edge of the note, someone had written, “The joyful of 2015 thank the courageous of 1967.”
Inside the restaurant, a bartender said the afternoon had been mostly quiet, but the comments she’d heard were universally in praise of Friday’s news from the Supreme Court.
“This is unreal,” she said. “But it’s about time.”