There was a collective palpable sigh of relief in the afternoon with the judge's ruling and with the recognition that perhaps it's not the end of the road, but it was one very gratifying step forward along the way.
With the rainbow flag flying above the Castro District, same-sex marriage supporters relished Wednesday's win.
"This is ground zero for the gay rights movement. Prop 8 is something we all fought against and it's a historic day," Steve Adams from the Castro Merchants Association said.
Geoff Kors is executive director of Equality California, the state's largest gay rights organization.
"Well, it's a terrific win for equality and the constitution. The court ruled that fear and speculation and conjecture weren't enough to take away the rights of a minority group," he said.
Carrie Rodich is straight, but she lives in the neighborhood. She came to the corner of Market and Castro with her son Cole in solidarity with her neighbors, supporting same-sex marriage.
"I definitely think that's pro-family in so many ways, and honestly I don't think anyone else's marriage has anything to do with mine," she said.
Katie Kovesdy came to honor her uncles, who were together 52 years and married in one of California's windows of legal opportunity.
"Unfortunately they passed away last year, but that's why I'm wearing their wedding rings so they could be with me here. I miss them horribly. I'm so glad they got to see a day when they were allowed to marry," she said.
A couple of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence rushed out without their signature makeup.
"Sometimes we don't wear a white face. This is an important moment in history, when you don't have time to spend an hour putting on makeup and you want to congratulate your community that we're one step closer to being less than human in our own country," Sister Mary Timothy Simplicity said.
Supporters of same-sex marriage have waited almost two years for this party. They decided to close down Castro Street, bring the house music outside, and dance in the streets.
"After all those years and after all the struggle, rallies, finally, finally we have the right to marry again," said San Francisco resident Dinei Leao.
And the celebration wasn't limited to the Castro. In front of San Francisco City Hall, an impressively coordinated dance routine broke out right in the middle of Polk Street.
"It's great to see everybody come out here and do the initial march down here, so a nice solidarity," said San Francisco resident Patrick Flaherty.
Gay rights activists made themselves very visible in the city after the ruling. They rallied on the steps of City Hall and walked there from the Castro. They were celebrating, but also demonstrating, knowing the fight isn't over.
The judge put a hold on issuing licenses and may leave it in place while the case is appealed.
Gay rights activists are well aware this ruling will be appealed and the case will likely make it to the U.S. Supreme Court, but on Wednesday night they savored the victory.
Looking Back At Prop 8
Future of Proposition 8 now in hands of judge
PHOTOS: Final day of Prop 8 trial
Prop 8 trial re-enacted on the web
Defense lawyers rest case at Prop 8 trial
PHOTOS: Same-sex marriage on trial in SF
Defense presents first witness in Prop 8 case
SF economist says gay marriage ban costs city
Prop 8 attorneys talk history of marriage
Groundbreaking same-sex marriage trial starts in SF
Judge refuses to dismiss Prop 8 suit
San Francisco joins federal battle over Prop 8
Governor wants speedy Prop 8 resolution
Prop 8 fight may head to U.S. Supreme Court
Couples challenge Prop 8 with lawsuit
PHOTOS: Prop 8 upheld in California
Castro District reacts to Prop 8 ruling
Calif. high court upholds gay marriage ban
Hundreds pray on eve of Prop 8 ruling
Justices hear Proposition 8 arguments
Mormon churches role in Prop 8 investigated
Court agrees to hear Prop 8 challenges
California remains conflicted about Prop 8
Prop 8 constitutionality challenged
No on 8 campaign concedes defeat
Same-sex couples scramble to get married
Proposition 8 campaigning begins