Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, two of the plaintiffs who challenged and beat Proposition 8 Wednesday, will soon be legally married in the state of California. But their celebration on msnbc was interrupted when President Obama called to congratulate the pair from Air Force One.
"We're proud of you guys, and we're so glad," the president said over speaker phone. Jeff Zarrillo and Paul Katami, the two other plaintiffs challenging Prop 8, gathered around Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin's cell phone, to listen in.
The president acknowledged the couples' courage, and told them they were "helping out a whole lot of people."
Off-air, the president made another call from Air Force One to Edie Windsor, the plaintiff challenging the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA,) a 1996 law that prevented the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages in states that already do. DOMA was struck down Wednesday in 5-4 Supreme Court decision.
The president congratulated Windsor on her victory, and remarked on how fitting it was that this “historic ruling should come today, just ten years after the Court struck down laws making same-sex relationships illegal in Lawrence v. Texas,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney.
Earlier in the day, Obama took to Twitter for his initial reaction:
Today's DOMA ruling is a historic step forward for #MarriageEquality. #LoveIsLove— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) June 26, 2013
And later, the president issued a statement of support:
I applaud the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. This was discrimination enshrined in law. It treated loving, committed gay and lesbian couples as a separate and lesser class of people. The Supreme Court has righted that wrong, and our country is better off for it. We are a people who declared that we are all created equal – and the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.
The four plaintiffs who challenged Prop 8 were overwhelmed by the president's call. Paul Katami, who earlier had proposed to Zarrillo on air, said just before hanging up: "You're invited to the wedding."
President Obama calls from AF1 to couple that brought Prop 8 pic.twitter.com/yaY3znHreZ— Kelly O'Donnell (@KellyO) June 26, 2013