On the steps of the State Supreme Court building, supporters of same-sex marriage cheered and cried after hearing the ruling.
Jewelle Gomez and Diane Sabin were plaintiffs in the case.
"I'm thrilled, I'm tearful because it seems like we have been waiting forever," said Gomez.
"We've been waiting all of our lives," said Sabin.
Jeanne Rizzo's partner was in Europe when the ruling came down.
"I could not be happier. Paulie is in Italy and I'm asking her to marry me and she is absolutely saying she will and I couldn't be happier about that," said Rizzo.
"We want to have the same rights as everyone else and it's amazing. It's an amazing feeling to know that this decision will allow us to do that and be acknowledged," said same-sex marriage supporter Christina Maldonado.
It was a setback for those against same-sex marriages. But Thursday they vowed to continue pushing for a ballot initiative that would outlaw same-sex marriages.
"Fortunately, this initiative is in place and the people will have the opportunity to have their voice known in November and I am confident that they will pass the initiative that marriage in California is only valid between one man and one women," said Terry Thompson with the Alliance Defense Fund.
The decision was criticized by some religious groups like Catholics for the Common Good.
"We need to do something, not water down marriage and present it as a lifestyle choice. It's much more serious than that. It has grave social consequences and the rights of children, the interests of children were not recognized at all," said Bill May with Catholics for the Common Good.
Many supporters say they will not have full marriage equality until they get to the federal level.
Watch unedited reaction to the ruling from various parties involved.
- San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom
- City Attorney Dennis Herrera
- Randy Thomasson, Founder & President of Campaign for Children & Families (Part 1)
- Randy Thomasson, Founder & President of Campaign for Children & Families (Part 2)
- Executive Director Kate Kendall and Legal Director Shannon Mintner with the National Center for Lesbian Rights
- San Francisco Chief Deputy City Attorney Terri Stewart
- Dan Bernal, Spokesperson for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
- Senior Counsel Jenny Pfizer with Lambda Legal
- Executive Director Maya Harris of ACLU Northern California
- Download: Read a summary of the California Supreme Court's ruling
- Court documents filed in the California marriage case
- Massachusetts' gay marriage decision (Goodridge v. Mass. Department of Public Health -- Nov. 18, 2003).
- Same-sex marriage legislation in the United States by state (map)
- Same-Sex Marriage: Developments in the Law
- Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders: Marriage Equality