White House, buildings across the country light up in rainbow colors to celebrate gay rights


The White House is illuminated in rainbow colors. (Photo: Gary Cameron/Reuters)

The White House was lit with the colors of the rainbow Friday night in honor of the Supreme Court’s ruling that marriage equality is a constitutional right throughout the country.

“Tonight, the White House was lit to demonstrate our unwavering commitment to progress and equality, here in America and around the world,” the White House said in a statement. “The pride colors reflect the diversity of the LGBT community, and tonight, these colors celebrate a new chapter in the history of American civil rights.”

Many other landmarks were illuminated in gay-pride colors overnight as the LGBT community and its allies celebrated the historic ruling.


The spire of 1 World Trade Center in New York City is lit in rainbow colors as an NYPD officer opens a street for traffic. (Photo: Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)

Among them were One World Trade Center in New York City, Niagara Falls between Ontario, Canada, and New York State, Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World in Florida and several city halls, including San Francisco’s and Denver’s.

San Francisco City Hall is illuminated by rainbow colors. (Photo: Gordon Mak/Instagram)

Earlier Friday, President Barack Obama said in a speech from the White House Rose Garden that the decision reaffirmed that all Americans are entitled to the equal protection of the law.

The commander in chief said the ruling was a victory for Jim Obergefell and the other plaintiffs in the case, gay and lesbian couples, the children and families of same-sex couples and the allies who have worked for marriage equality for decades.


President Obama talks on the phone in the Oval Office of the White House before speaking in the Rose Garden. (Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

“And this ruling is a victory for America. This decision affirms what millions of Americans already believe in their hearts: When all Americans are treated as equal we are all more free,” Obama said.

Sarah Kate Ellis, the CEO and president of GLAAD, told Yahoo News — during liveblog coverage of the nation’s reaction — that she was thrilled the ruling came ahead of New York’s world-famous gay pride parade this weekend.

“I was thrilled beyond belief. It was a long time coming. I felt that it shows that our love is important, equal and should be protected as well. I feel that it was a phenomenal ruling,” she said over the phone.


Sarah Kate Ellis has been president and CEO of GLAAD since January 2014. (Photo: GLAAD)

Jen Heerwig, an assistant professor of sociology at Stony Brook University, who has co-authored scholarly works on the subject, says that Supreme Court ruling brings the nation’s law up to speed with majority opinion in the United States, which has become steadily and rapidly more liberal on the issue of marriage equality in recent years.

“The past decade or so has seen the most pronounced changes. There are variations in attitudes of different ages. As millennials have come of age there’s been a striking shift in opinion on gay marriages,” she said in an interview with Yahoo News.

Many companies — from American Airlines to General Electric — showed support for gays and lesbians by switching their profile pictures on social media to versions that incorporate the rainbow pride flag.


Colors of the rainbow light the dome of the California State Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. (Photo: Rich Pedroncelli/ Reuters)

Countless people across the world took to the Internet to celebrate the decision. The final section of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinion went viral and was widely lauded for saying gays and lesbians do not disrespect marriage but want to find fulfillment through it themselves:

"No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than they once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their pleas is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. The Constitution grants them that right.”

CBS News pointed out that the first time it tackled the issue of same-sex couples was in 1967 with the televised documentary “CBS Reports: The Homosexuals.”


A rainbow-colored U.S. flag flies in front of San Francisco’s iconic Castro Theater. (Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters)

In it, the host, acclaimed journalist Mike Wallace, said that the mere notion of homosexuality repels most Americans.

“A CBS poll shows 2 out of 3 Americans look on homosexuality with disgust, discomfort or fear,” he said.

The very notion of rights for gays and lesbians was brand new for most people when the program aired. It predated the Stonewall riots in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City — often credited with sparking the gay liberation movement — by two years.

But, for many Americans, the most salient sign of how much our country has changed was emblazoned on the first family’s home in red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.


The White House is lit up in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Gary Cameron/Reuters)