PHILADELPHIA — Regina Sullivan started crying as she squeezed her arms around the man at the center of the latest gay rights milestone: Jim Obergefell, whose lawsuit led to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling making same-sex marriage the law of the land.
Sullivan, 17, offered her embrace before a ceremony Thursday where Obergefell helped place a wreath at a historical marker commemorating one of the movement’s first milestones: a rally near Philadelphia’s Independence Hall a half-century ago.
“For me, it’s an honor to be here to pay tribute to those people who took much bigger risks than I did and laid the groundwork for John and me to be married and for us to stand up and have the courage to fight,” said Obergefell. “Without the people here in Philadelphia 50 years ago, I wouldn’t be here.”
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“It is so fortuitous that these two events should collide,” said Malcolm Lazin, the head of the four-day National LGBT 50th Anniversary Celebration.
Obergefell and fellow marriage equality champion Edith Windsor, whose Supreme Court case ended the Defense of Marriage Act, are among the featured guests at a tribute Saturday to the 1965 protest.