Those who entered the National Cathedral on Wednesday did so on a day etched in history. They came to celebrate the Supreme Court’s ruling that extends federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples.
“It's a very important day for many, many people,” said Robert Tarasovich. “It’s probably long overdue."
Joy reverberated through a service focused on the belief that marrying whomever you love is a constitutional as well as a moral right.
The Very Reverend Gary Hall said: “I do believe that we have turned a corner in American life. I do believe we have turned a corner in the faith community's life. And tonight is a night to simply celebrate and be thankful for the blessing of this day."
Across town at a rally on Freedom Plaza, Mary Paradise beamed with a satisfaction that results from decades of advocacy.
“I'm 61 years old and I never thought in my life that I would see this,” she said. "Today is a huge, gigantic leap forward."
For Emily Hecht-McGowan, who lives in Maryland with her wife Sharon, this is validation.
"Now we know that all of those safety nets that are there for everybody else now apply to us,” she said. “And it's almost like a sigh of relief."
At the end of the Cathedral’s service, attendees walked past a foyer floor covered in state seals – a reminder that despite Wednesday’s landmark ruling, there are still 37 states that do not recognize same-sex marriage.