The excitement was thick in the air, despite the Georgia heat slapping the back of my neck. Even a couple of blocks away, I could hear a crowd cheering and see rainbow flags waving.
As I trucked down Broad Street toward the Augusta Common, camera in tow, I wondered how many people had come out to the city's 6th annual Pride festival and parade. It was a historic weekend, with the Supreme Court only legalizing same-sex marriage 24 hours prior. But, despite it being my hometown, I haven't figured Augusta out yet. Were there many people here in this smallish city who would celebrate equality the way I did? Were there many others whose lives were not immediately changed by the ruling, but who felt like something amazing had happened when five of the justices had ruled marriage was a right to be enjoyed by all?
Or were social conservatives still running amuck here? The last time my boyfriend and I had come down to the Common together, for a 4th of July celebration a few years ago I think, I noticed we caught a lot of looks. Not glares, really, but just curious attention that made me want to leave. I chalked it up to that hag, the old South, throwing shade at an interracial couple over a glass of sweet tea.
As I neared the Common, I felt myself being swallowed up in a sea of black and white, rainbows, heterosexual and homosexual, drag queens, teenagers and dogs. It was overwhelming.
I'd come downtown to celebrate the decision that brought "equal dignity in the eyes of the law" and was happy to find that many, many others had as well. From the white lesbian couple who carried a daughter maybe 5 years old to the aging black husband and wife pair collecting swag from the vendor tents, the masses had come out in support of equality. It was a beautiful day to be an Augustan.
[PEEP THE SLIDESHOW BELOW]