Gay and Happy at a West Hollywood Candle Shop
The phone started ringing at Timothy Jay Candles a little bit after ten o’clock in the morning, and it didn’t stop for the rest of the morning. At one o’clock, the red portable phone rang again. Tim Sullivan, a bright-eyed man in his sixties and owner of the candle shop, answered it.
Someone said something on the other end of the line. Sullivan smiled wide.
“Oh, Jesus! Yes! It’s a wonderful, wonderful day! I took out my big old rainbow flag and hung that fucking thing! It’s waving in front of my place right now!”
Sullivan, dressed in blue jeans and a blue T-shirt, listened to the caller and paced around his little store, where several workers packaged scented candles for clients. Located on Harper Avenue, a few yards away from Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood, Timothy Jay is something of a gay hangout, where Sullivan’s friends regularly stop by to chat about politics, movies, men, and anything else that comes to mind.
“All I can say is,” Sullivan said into the phone, “God bless Gavin Newsom.”
Gavin Newsom being the mayor of San Francisco, a straight man who pressed the legal battle over same sex unions in California by marrying gay and lesbian couples at City Hall in 2004. The marriages were later nullified by the California Supreme Court, but three years later, after separate lawsuits were filed, the supreme court ruled this Thursday morning that marriage between two men or two women was legal.
Sullivan then stopped pacing, sat down in front of his computer, and read a news wire report to his friend on the phone. The old rainbow flag fluttered in a light breeze outside his window.
“It couldn't be more clear!” Sullivan said, summing up the article. “It’s done. We’re legal.”
Sullivan hung up a few moments later, but not before telling the caller to head over to Santa Monica and San Vicente for a 7 p.m. rally. “I hope we disrupt a little traffic,” he said. “Actually, I hope we disrupt a lot of traffic. Okay, my love. Take care.”
Sullivan looked around the store, still smiling wide. Christopher Young, a part-time web designer, sat across from him and started talking about more legal fights. Someone else mentioned the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law signed by President Bill Clinton that trumps state law and defines a “spouse” as a person of the opposite sex, among things. It was also mentioned that Senator Hillary Clinton only offered to repeal part of DOMA. Senator Barack Obama wanted to do away with all of it.
“So why are all the queens in this town jumping around for Hillary?” asked Sullivan, who’s an Obama man.
No one in the store had answer, and Young started talking about the U.S. Supreme Court.
“I just don’t want to hear about it,” Sullivan finally said, throwing his hands down. “I’ve been waiting a long time for this moment. I want to enjoy it.”
The legal talk was dropped for another day. There was still more celebration to be done in the heart of Boys Town.