SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – The man often credited with putting the same-sex marriage debate on the front burner seemed to express relief and gratitude that same-sex marriage equality is now the law of the land in the United States.

California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom jumped on Twitter to praise the Supreme Court ruling which struck down marriage bans, saying “The day has finally come when loving couples can get married regardless of their sexual orientation. Thank you to the five justices.”

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As San Francisco Mayor in 2004, Newsom began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, setting off legal challenges, ballot propositions and a national debate that aimed to settle the issue once and for all.

In 2008 he was both criticized and praised when he said “It’s going to happen, whether you like it or not,” referring to legal same sex marriage.

The comments came after a state Supreme Court victory against marriage bans, but before California voters approved the Proposition 8 marriage ban in 2008. A ban that was later struck down in the courts.

Immediately after the decision, Newsome spoke to the Radio Alice morning crew, where he was asked about the risks he took backing gay marriage a decade ago.

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“My quote-unquote mentors, the people I looked up to in politics in my own party were the most critical and the most vocal,” said Newsom. “It wasn’t just about the mayor at the time. It was about not even wanting the association with the city.”

Here’s the full interview:

In a press release Friday morning, Newsom praised the legal victory, but said much more work is still to be don on the path to equality. Here is his full statement:

“’We have abundant reason to rejoice that, in this land, the light of truth and reason has triumphed over the power of bigotry and superstition.’ The wisdom of these words, penned by President Washington and now more than two centuries old, remind us that American Democracy is an evolving journey, perfected with the passage of time.

“Indeed our present day comprehension of marriage — based upon love and lifelong loyalty — is itself an evolution in the institution of marriage.

“I celebrate today’s decision but recognize that the fight for equality is not over. Far from it. As we look to the future, I urge those with whom I have walked this march to continue forward with vigilance and resolve.

“Many similar milestones – such as the Nineteenth Amendment, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 – continue to be challenged and undermined by courts and laws across the states by those unable to temper their hatred. Dissimulated discrimination, like RFRA laws and the Hobby Lobby decision, are evidence that enlightenment develops on a separate and slower track.”

“There remains a long list of rights that must be guaranteed before the LGBT community achieves equality under the law. There are no federal workplace protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. We are nowhere near providing adequate protections for the rights of transgender Americans.”

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“This cause for celebration closes one chapter of civil right injustices enforced by state laws. To deny the value of any love, devalues all love. The nation has traveled full circle in the eleven years since San Francisco’s Winter of Love, but the underlying prejudices have not disappeared. Some remain self-imprisoned by their own enmity, seeking to deny the life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness of their neighbors while overlooking Samuel Adams’ insight that “the truth is, all might be free if they valued freedom, and defended it as they ought.'”