As advocates across the nation celebrated a U.S. Supreme Court decision Wednesday morning, many understood it would be the first step of several in a fight for marriage equality.
Others thought it might have been a step in the wrong direction.
The high court decided with a 5-4 vote that legally married same-sex couples will receive the same federal benefits as heterosexual married couples. The ruling struck down a section of the Defense of Marriage Act and challenged California’s Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in the state.
Jody Cofer, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender program coordinator at Murray State, recognizes the decision as an enormous step in the direction of marriage equality. However, he noted there are still many states with a ban on gay marriage - including Kentucky.
“The work must continue and today’s action to remove the federal government as one of the barriers used against the movement will re-energize the community,” Cofer said. “We’re seeing the LGBT community pick up so much momentum across the country – faster than any other civil or human rights movements to date.”
Cofer said he believes the Murray State student community favors fairness and marriage equality.
According to a poll gathered by the Washington Post and ABC, 81 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 29 believe same-sex marriages should be legalized.
JC Aponte, junior from Clarksville, Tenn., said while he believes everyone is equal, and should be treated so, he doesn’t agree with the union of two people of the same sex.
“My heart was saddened and disappointed when I heard of the ruling,” Aponte said. “My disappointment isn’t geared toward any individuals, but instead toward the lifestyle so many are choosing to live in.”
Aponte quoted the Bible, saying that even though something may be lawful, it may not be helpful.
“Gay marriage will continue to pass in more states,” Aponte said. “There will be much more rejoicing from many communities. But there will be one community saddened and full of broken hearts.”
Bill Cassie, associate professor of political science, said it is not known at the time if same-sex marriage will be recognized in states such as Kentucky.
“The ruling did not appear to address this head on, but you can expect challenges if the answer appears to be no,” Cassie said.
He said in his opinion, the decision does not appear to be historic, but might be the start of historic changes. Eventually, Cassie believes, more states will expand the right to same-sex marriage and the court will have to rule on remaining state bans.