JOHNSON CITY, TN- More than a hundred gay marriage supporters gathered Friday in Founder’s Park to celebrate the Supreme Court decision to legalize gay marriage in all 50 states.
When she heard the decision, “I cried, I shook, I could believe it,” Loriann Manis said.
For both sides of the gay marriage debate, Friday was an emotional day.
“I felt a joy come over me like I’ve never felt before,” Teresa Jones said.
For many at Founder’s Park, it was a long awaited day some said they thought they would never see.
“I could never dream of this when I was a young man, this is a momentous occasion and finally the dam has broken,” John Baker, co-director of Pride Community Center of the Tri-Cities said.
“I am thrilled to death because I was born and raised here and it’s finally here,” Thomas Warren who married his husband last year out of state said.
“The freedom to be an American, the dignity to be an American, and not a second class citizen,” Jones said.
Though some couples at Founder’s Park had already married out of state, their marriage was not recognized in Tennessee until now.
“We can claim each other like on income taxes, he has a right now that if I get sick and go to the hospital he can go and no worries that they are going to kick him out,” Warren said.
But one couple said though they have been together for years, they were holding out hope to get their marriage license in their home state.
“For us it felt important, I wanted to do this here, where I live, in my hometown, that means something to me,” Beth Evelyn Barber said.
So the decision Friday meant they could take action on a decision they say they had already made.
“As a result, I took a couple of hours off at the end of the day and we went to Jonesborough to the courthouse and we got a license,” Barber said.