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Burbank plaintiff in Prop. 8 case: 'Today is a great day to be American'

June 26, 2013
  • Brandon Brown, 28, left, gets a piece of cake from Colby Melvin, 25, as they celebrate Supreme Court decision to strike down a key part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act overturning of California's Proposition 8 goes on at The Abby Food and Bar in West Hollywood.
Brandon Brown, 28, left, gets a piece of cake from Colby… (Irfan Khan / Los…)

Late last year, after the U.S. Supreme Court decided to take up the Proposition 8 case, Paul Katami of Burbank – one of the lead plaintiffs – expressed what he hoped would happen at its end.

“We hope that history has taught us one thing: that the courts are there to protect us.”

In a way, they were.

In what experts are already calling a puzzling majority decision, the Supreme Court, in a procedural ruling, turned away the defenders of Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure that limited marriage to the union of a man and a woman.

Document: Supreme Court decision on Proposition 8

The court’s action, while not a sweeping ruling, sends the case back to California, where state and federal judges and the state’s top officials have said same-sex marriage is a matter of equal rights, the L.A. Times reported.

Katami and his longtime partner, Jeff Zarillo, could not be immediately reached as gay activists erupted in applause and cheering outside the Supreme Court.

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But in statements carried live on national television, Zarillo lauded the legal decision and that it meant “I am more equal, that we are more equal.”

“I look forward to growing old with the man I love,” he said as Katami looked on. “Today is a great day to be American."

Los Angeles Times staff writer David G. Savage contributed reporting.

-- Jason Wells, jason.wells@latimes.com

Follow on Facebook, Google+ and on Twitter: @JasonBretWells.

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