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'The Emotion Hasn't Fully Hit Me': Locals, Leaders React To High Court's Marriage Ruling

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Kyle Stokes
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KPLU News
In Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood, Nirete Llopis and Richard Guevara pose as photographer Megan Cosell snaps an image. Street crews painted a rainbow pattern onto the crosswalk ahead of Pride festivities this weekend.

(Corrects that Jinkins was not in the car with her wife, Laura Wulf, and corrects spelling of Wulf's name.)

State Rep. Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, was on the way to the airport with her son on Friday when they got the news: the U.S. Supreme Court had made same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states.

The first openly lesbian lawmaker in Olympia, Jinkins married long-time partner Laura Wulf in 2013. There in the car, Jinkins says she teared up. Her son got quiet.

"He said, I need to remember where I was today, Mom, because people will ask me that when I grow up, won't they?" Jinkins recalled. "And I said, yeah, for the rest of your life, probably, this is a question people will say, 'Where were you on the day this decision was made?'"

The Court's landmark ruling was welcome news to many around the Puget Sound region, where most counties approved legalizing gay marriage by solid majorities in a 2012 statewide referendum.

"We are all equal, and love is love, and to see that our Supreme Court made that choice — I can't stop smiling and crying," said photographer Megan Cosell, who was visiting Seattle from Chelan.

'It's A Long Journey'

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Credit Ashley Gross / KPLU
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KPLU
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, with his husband Michael Shiosaki by his side, spoke during a press conference to mark the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision legalizing same-sex marriage.

For Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, this is a signature issue. During his time in the state legislature, he pushed first for domestic partnership laws, and then for the 2012 marriage equality vote. During a press conference Friday, he choked up as he read the text of the Court's ruling. 

"The emotion of this moment hasn't really fully hit me. I'm still trying to work through my emotions," said the mayor, with his husband and long-time partner Michael Shiosaki by his side.

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KPLU's Ashley Gross reports on the reactions of local politicians who have long pushed for marriage equality.

Murray told reporters he never imagined he'd be able to go into politics as an openly gay man, much less be allowed to legally get married. But Murray says his mentor — the late Cal Anderson, who became Washington state's first openly gay state lawmaker in 1987 — paved the way.

"Someone like me had never served in public office until Cal did. So I couldn't have imagined anything but a secret and painfully lonely life," Murray said. "It's a long journey and I'm so happy that young people today don't imagine that."

'Of Course It Should Be Legal'

Elected leaders from Seattle City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen to Tacoma City Councilmember Ryan Mello — both of them openly gay — also offered praise for the decision.

The ruling gave added meaning to preparations for Pride Weekend in Seattle. Pride flags already festoon many storefronts in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, where street crews have also spent days painting rainbow patterns in several crosswalks.

"Look at this — look how happy everybody is," said clothing store owner Ruth True, standing near one such crosswalk Friday afternoon.

How did she react when she first heard news of the ruling?

"Duh. And thank God," True said. "I mean, of course it should be legal."