The recent Supreme Court refusal to rule on four appeals in cases where lower courts had struck down same-sex marriage bans (and the subsequent legalization of same-sex marriage in the four appealing states) has elicited strong responses across the country, but especially in the states affected. We asked a few within the Affirmation community to share their thoughts and feelings with us.
I honestly didn’t expect marriage equality to be happening so soon. I was anxious for the coming appeal, praying that love would win out, but instead we get to skip the anxiety and go straight to the weddings! It’s been an absolute joy here in Utah to watch as all my dear friends can now be with the ones they love and have all the legal protections that go with that. There are still struggles against other inequalities to be fought tomorrow, true, but today there is happiness and celebration. And for today, that’s enough.
I got the big news from a friend letting me know that ALL Utahns could now marry, which was so exciting! However, what brought me to tears was reading that my native Colorado was included in the mix. Having lived in New York for a while, I have grown accustomed to marriage for all; it isn’t that big of a deal here. But what touched me so deeply was the thought, “I can get married at home.” I cry as I write that statement. Now I can argue with a future spouse about where to get married…because Colorado IS the most beautiful state in the Union! 😉
I was exhilarated to learn of both the SCOTUS and the 9th circuit decisions earlier this week. I was then deflated when Justice Kennedy granted Idaho’s request for stay. While I am disappointed, I am reminded of the quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Quietly endure, silently suffer, and patiently wait.” Once again, we wait.
Raleigh, North Carolina
I have lived in North Carolina for 17 years I experienced so many tears of happiness now that gay marriage is a reality in my home state. I’ve experienced bigotry at work and school because I identify as LGBT. There are taboos and ignorance about the LGBT community even inside our church, which is one of the few places I feel safe. When marriage became legal in Utah, our local leaders called a meeting at the stake center to tell members not to support movements of same-sex marriage in our state. That really put me down, but I always kept my faith that things would change because we are all children of the same Heavenly Father who sees us as equal. He has truly blessed us this week.
As my Facebook newsfeed exploded with the news of the Supreme Court’s “non-ruling”, I was overwhelmed with gratitude and joy. What a beautiful thing that same-sex couples and families can now have legal recognition of their commitments to each other.
I’m thrilled with the news of marriage equality in Virginia and am proud to be a Virginian. I’m grateful to the brave people who took their cases to court to fight the hateful ban on same-sex unions. I look forward to the extension of this civil right to LGBT people in all 50 states.
Bryan Clark and Derek Lundahl
Bryan: I first felt shock, followed by one of those “wait really” moments when I first heard the news. I was walking on cloud air all morning and have been since! I only wish my Mormon family would also share in this joy I feel.
Derek: When Bryan first told me I thought to myself this can’t possibly be real! But it was! Afterwards I thought how the world has become a better place by allowing people to choose for themselves how to live their life and who to spend it with. I’m glad we are progressing towards freedom for all mankind.
Each day I look at my wedding ring finger and smile thinking about how the opportunity to have a ring on that finger is now real in Virginia. Same-sex couples have the right to marry; the tourism slogan “Virginia Is For Lovers” is now true for ALL of its citizens!
D Christian Harrison
Salt Lake City, UT
On December 20th last year, I was there in the Salt Lake County offices as 700 people were married. It was joyous chaos. And then came the long winter of waiting. On the first Monday of October, the Supreme Court ended the waiting… and today gay marriage is the law of the land in Utah and for 60% of Americans. In the 15 years I’ve been watching gay marriage, it’s gone from a curiosity to a right — and gays have gone from skeptical to enthusiastic. The Spirit is working in the hearts of men — and family life is taking center stage!
When I heard the ruling in Utah I felt a little bittersweet. Honestly, I am so excited for my brothers and sisters that now have the right to marry and be protected by the law. I think that I also have felt the nervousness of my family and friends in Utah that are not part of the LGBT community. In my discussions I have strived to help all recognize that I stand with love and compassion.
I also know that as I continue to strive to have understanding and a perspective with love for all then I am able to celebrate with my LGBT family and friends. I am also able to connect with and help my friends and family that aren’t part of our community see and recognize how this ruling not only blesses individuals lives but makes Utah a safer and a more inclusive place where we can support and love each other unconditionally.