Local same-sex couples react to Supreme Court ruling
Posted at: 06/26/2013 11:43 AM
| Updated at: 06/26/2013 6:16 PM
By: Amanda Ciavarri | WHEC.com
News10NBC was with local same-sex couples at Equal Ground Coffee Shop on South Avenue when the Supreme Court's decision came down.
KaeLyn Rich said, “There was a moment of pure excitement and people jumped up and hugged their spouses and it was really, really exciting. It was the best we could hope for.”
That excitement even poured out into the streets. After a quick celebration, News10NBC spoke with Jo and Christine Meleca-Voigt. They were married in Canada in 2005 because it wasn't legal to get married in New York State then. And now for the first time in New York and across the country, they will have full access to all the federal benefits offered to married people.
Christine Meleca-Voigt said, “Social Security benefits come with this, veteran's benefits come with this, immigration benefits come with this, I mean it is a recognition of our dignity and worth as a married couple just like anybody else.”
But for this couple, and many others, today isn't just about the federal benefits.
Jo Meleca-Voigt said, “The piece of it that's more important is that as a consenting, loving, adult couple that are good citizens, who love our nieces and nephews and our families and live our lives to help others wholy and purely, our government is saying now, you matter.”
Scott Fearing, Executive Director at the Gay Alliance, said, “It is so important that my government, a place I so gladly pay my taxes to, i'm so proud to be an American that my government is recognizing my family as equally and legitimate as my siblings, my straight siblings.”
While some say the journey isn't over until all states legalize same-marriage, this is a step in the right direction. And for KaeLyn Rich and Zack Waffle, this was news they've been waiting to hear.
Rich said, “I wasn't sure I would see it in my lifetime. Things are changing so quickly and I think public opinion about gay lesbian bisexual transgender people is changing so quickly that I do feel like it's only going to get better from here.”
Even with the Supreme Court's decision, same sex couples married legally are not recognized as a couple if they move to a state that does not allow same sex marriage. Many people say their fight won't be over until same-sex marriage is legal in every state.