SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) –It’s a ruling Kelsey Flynn has been waiting decades for. “I was immediately rendered to tears. I will be again right now because I’ve been married to my wife, and we’ve been together 14 years,” Flynn sobbed.
The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision ruling the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, means that married same sex couples will be afforded the same federal benefits as heterosexual married couples in everything from filing taxes to social security. “So now I look at it we’ve been together 23 years, then 9 more years of marriage, and about 6 hours equal. So this is a really big day for us,” Donald Henneberger joked.
9 years ago, Don & Arthur Henneberger made national headlines because of DOMA, when don applied for a passport after taking Arthur’s last name.
When the Bureau of Consular Affairs denied him he took them to court, defending himself. The case set a precedent for those in similar situations. “People’s mentality has changed. It’s taken a long, long time,” Arthur Henneberger said.
Although many view the decision as a victory, LGBT advocate Bernadette Harrigan says this is only a small one, with many more to go. “What I mentioned was ENDA, which would provide federal protection for LGBT people in the workforce. LGBT people can be fired tomorrow. Just because they’re gay,” she said.
One of the area’s largest employers, Mass Mutual, released this statement regarding the ruling: “We are pleased the Supreme Court found the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to be unconstitutional. The ruling now allows companies like ours to treat all employees equally with respect to the benefits we offer. As a major Massachusetts employer, we commend the Supreme Court on its decision and look forward to providing benefits absent penalty to all of our lawfully-married employees regardless of sexual orientation,” the said.