NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WGGB) –Celebrations as word spread that the Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, which was an emotional ruling for many. “Martin Luther King said the arc of history bends toward justice, and that’s exactly what happened today,” said attorney Tom Lesser.
It brings Matthew Redmond back to the moment when it was first passed. “Remember when I was 6 years old, he signed it, I was infuriated for some reason and didn’t understand why, but now I’m happy that it finally got overturned,” he said.
The 5-4 decision affects the 12 states, including Massachusetts that have already legalized gay marriage just as much the others that haven’t yet. “It means that anyone in mass who is connected with Mass who is connected with gay marriage can get the same benefits as a heterosexual couple can get. It doesn’t mean that people in other states where same sex marriage isn’t recognized are going to get federal benefits at this moment in time,” Lesser added.
In 1996 President Bill Clinton signed DOMA into law, banning all legally married gay couples from being recognized under federal law. According to Lesser, this is just 1 example of how a huge social change can come in a little bit of time. “That’s 17 years ago. Social changes like that don’t happen so quickly very often. I give President Obama credit for that,” said Lesser.
Even some of the city’s youngest residents are embracing the news. “Whether they’re gay or not, they should be accepted as a person because they are a person & we all live in one world,” 11-year-old Benna Kropf said.
The Supreme Court also dismissed an appeal on California’s Proposition 8. That means same sex couples in that state will be allowed to marry.
A federal appeals court says it will wait at least 25 days before allowing the marriages to resume there.
The court says it will take at least that long for the Supreme Court’s decision to become official.
They may extend the ban if proponents ask for a re-hearing.