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Thousands Celebrate After Ban On Gay Marriage Lifted

SHADYSIDE (KDKA) -- Upwards of 1,000 people filled Ellsworth Avenue in Shadyside for a rally organized by the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh.

Supporters of same-sex marriage celebrated a U.S. District Judge's decision that Pennsylvania's law banning marriage equality is unconstitutional.

At the center of the judge's opinion is the Whitewood family of Pittsburgh, a lesbian couple that served as a plaintiff in the lawsuit Whitewood v. Wolfe.

"This is more than just for us," Susan Whitewood said from the stage. "We look at this as a hugely historic moment. It was a very big deal to make a decision for us to participate in this."

Many couples already married in other states now want to make it legal in Pennsylvania as well.

Kathy Rizza and Cindy Shaffer were married five years ago in Massachusetts.

"It means everything. My heart was pumping. I was crying. I texted her and said, 'Will you marry me again?' Of course she said yes," said Shaffer with a laugh.

Several city and county political leaders also spoke at the rally.

It also ended with a surprise proposal. Peter Karlovich proposed to Steve Herforth. Steve said yes.

Whitewood joined the KDKA Morning News with Larry Richert and John Shumway to talk about what the decision by the court means to her and her family.

Whitewood gave various examples of how same-sex marriage will benefit her relationship, as well as other couples.

"Even more than that, our family is validated, our family is recognized, our children now have two legal parents," she said.

To those that have concerns that a same-sex couple can't raise children properly, Whitewood says, "The proof is in the pudding. I have two wonderful, smart, articulate, teenage daughters."

She also has that she has a 3-year-old son, "who enjoys his entire life and brings a smile to everyone he meets."

"We show the exact same parenting no matter if you're a gay or lesbian couple, whether you're a single parent, whether you're a step-parent, whether you're a grandparent, we all love our kids, period," said Whitewood.

Deb Whitewood with Larry Richert and John Shumway on KDKA Radio

Federal Judge Rules Pa. Gay Marriage Ban Is Unconstitutional
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