Here’s how America reacted to Friday’s marriage equality ruling

Updated 4:36 PM EDT, Fri June 26, 2015

Story highlights

From the Supreme Court steps to New York's Stonewall Inn, reactions to the justices' decision pours in

"We finally won," one same-sex marriage supporter posts

(CNN) —  

From the steps of the nation’s highest court in Washington to the sidewalks of West Hollywood in California, the U.S. Supreme Court decision requiring states to allow same-sex marriage unleashed an outpouring of emotions both in favor of and against the landmark ruling.

In Washington, hundreds gathered outside the Supreme Court Friday, waving U.S. and rainbow-colored flags, chanting “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” and celebrating the decision with selfies at a historic, if divisive, moment in the nation’s history.

“We can do it now!” one man said, hugging another and kissing him on the cheek. “It’s great, man.”

At Manhattan’s historic Stonewall Inn, where police raids touched off rioting in 1969 that led to an awakening in the gay rights movement, supporters of same-sex marriage danced to blaring music, giving the place the vibe of a wedding reception. Outside, dozens gathered to snap photos.

A man who said his name was Tree recalled that he was dancing the Lindy Hop at the Stonewall when the historic riots began. On Friday morning, he was tending bar to a packed house celebrating the moment.

“Last stand of equality”

“It’s very good for them,” he said of the mostly younger customers. “I’m 76. I don’t want to get married. … But you could say this is one of the places where a movement started.”

Anne Attalla, 40, found herself at the overflowing Stonewall, overcome with emotion.

“I walked in and held back tears. Gay Pride started with a riot. This is the last stand of equality.”

Lana McDonald was walking with her 11-year-old daughter Rileigh near the Greenwich Village bar where resistance to a raid touched off the modern gay rights movement. When a stranger told her of the decision, tears welled in her eyes.

“There is so much hate in the world right now,” McDonald said. “I’m glad they chose love over hate this time.”

Tom Campbell, 54, and Allan Walker, 61,embraced outside the landmark bar. They met at Monster, a gay bar across the street, and have been together 20 years. They married last year.

“Today means that younger people don’t have to spend their lives fighting this fight,” Walker said. “A lot of people gave their lives – their blood, sweat and tears to make this happen.”

In West Hollywood, California, 91-year-ld Cy Harris was out walking his Pomeranian, Valentino. Harris isn’t gay, but his son and daughter are. The decision will mean a lot to them, he said.

“They don’t have to take the abuse like they did at one time,” Harris said.” It’s wonderful.”

Ryann Nieves, wearing a U.S. women’s soccer team jersey ahead of the team’s match with China in the World Cup, got choked up just talking about the day.

“Putting the U.S. colors on has so much meaning today,” she said. “It’s a great day to be an American and to have equality. … To wake up and see all these text messages on my phone and to be told that you are recognized wherever you go in the United States, that’s incredible. It really is.”

“Everybody should be able to love who they want”

Jarrod Lewis was out with a group of young men in Atlanta Friday afternoon. Although the young men weren’t gay, they said they were happy about the ruling.

“I think everybody should be able to love who they want,” Lewis said.

“I love her”

“I would have dressed better if I had more time but couldn’t wait,” said one Atlanta-area woman who had rushed to the Fulton County courthouse to get married.

“It’s a great day for America”

Richard Neely and Chris Paul of Atlanta, have been partners for 23 years. For them, the ruling had practical meaning, too.

“It means that I’m confident that when I retire I’ll be able to provide full benefits for Christopher if he happens to survive me,” Neely said.

Four decades in the making

Others just seemed stunned the fight was over, 42 years after Maryland became the first state to pass a statute banning same-sex marriage, according to Freedom to Marry, which backs marriage equality.

Frank Stewart of Phoenix, Arizona, told CNN’s Glen Dacy in Chicago that people should not worry so much about other people’s lives.

“Hard times are coming”

Not everyone was pleased, of course.

On Facebook, Adam Donaldson wrote that “hard times are coming” because of the decision.

“Gay marriage is legal now. What a joke,” another Twitter user wrote. “This country has turned away from God.”

CNN’s Michael Martinez reported from Los Angeles and Ray Sanchez from New York. Contributors included Glen Dacy in Chicago and Andrew Stern, AnneClaire Stapleton, Eli Watkins and Lauriel Cleveland in Atlanta. This report was written by Michael Pearson in Atlanta.