Standing atop the old stone steps of First Churches in Northampton, the Amherst Gospel Choir sang "Going to the Chapel of Love" to celebrate the beginning of marriage equality in the United States.
In a win for the gay rights movement, the Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage.
Pastor of First Churches Todd Weir addressed a small crowd in an impromptu gathering.
"It started right here in Massachusetts and has now spread through the entire country so everybody's marriage is recognized in the United States. That's just awesome."
Marilyn Geiles recounts her marriage sixteen years ago to partner Ellen Petersen "First we had a commitment ceremony. What was the other?" Geiles asks Petersen. "Civil union, and then a wedding. So, three rings. We're legal." Petersen laughs.
Northampton has long been a home for members of the LGBTQ community. Noho Pride, started in 1982 to promote LGBTQ rights, hosts the annual pride parade, attracting visitors from all of New England. In 2015, Mayor Narkwewicz proclaimed May 2nd "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Recognition Day" noting that "more remains to be done to ensure that every single American is treated equally, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity."
Terrell Jones of Easthampton predicts the ability for same-sex couples to marry will curtail "hook-up" culture and promote long-term relationships.
"I think a lot more relationships are going to happen because people are finally excited and able, to, you know, marry the love of their life and not just date them. I think there's gonna be more long-term relationships for that community."
Jones also expressed the over-due nature of the court's ruling. "I think it's about time. It's 2015. I'm glad I grew up in the era where love is being expressed and love is being accepted."
Many echo Jones' sentiment that it's taken too long for marriage rights to be extended to same-sex couples.
Megan Clark said "It's actually sort of hard to wrap my head around the fact that we had a law preventing this,"
Jacqueline Wallace led the gospel choir in celebratory hymns and songs. Wallace, who's daughter is gay, expressed relief that same-sex couples have equality in marriage.
"I had been feeling very despairing about this country related to recent events [...] This hope does grow up within me when there are significant and meaningful changes like we had today [...] that gives me hope."