Gay and lesbian residents of Sonoma County began celebrating early Wednesday morning with news from the U.S. Supreme Court that same-sex marriage would be restored in California.
In a one-two punch from the bench, the nation's highest court also struck down a provision in the federal Defense of Marriage Act denying federal benefits to same-sex spouses, the twin rulings proving emotional and surreal for many of those awaiting word.
"My heart won't stop pounding," said Tim Church, who gathered with about a dozen others at a neighbor's home in Sonoma to hover over laptops as the news of the rulings came out.
"As it says on the steps of the Supreme Court: Liberty and justice for all," said his host, Gary Saperstein. "It's a good day. It's a very good day."
The court did not rule directly on Proposition 8, the 2008 state ballot measure that defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman.