December 9, 2012
On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would hear two cases relating to gay marriage. The power of this announcement was felt all over the country and one local same-sex couple tell us their reaction.
Within minutes of the U.S. Supreme Court announcing it would hear two cases relating to same-sex marriage, there was an explosion of joy and concern.
For Amy Marshall and her partner Lisa Greene, it was excitement and anxiety.
Some say it's the civil rights movement of today, and Marshall says gay-marriage rights would go much deeper than just having recognition from the state.
"We're talking about the rights that are financial after a partner dies, how the family is taken care of, rights to visit the hospital, we're talking about domestic custody issues and children," Marshall said.
Forty-one states do not allow same-sex marriages, and 30 of those have gay marriage bans written into their state constitutions.
Marshall says the federal decision will either take the gay rights movement a huge step forward or huge step backward.
"I know couples who have been together for 20 or 30 years, and they don't even feel comfortable having their partner go to the office Christmas party. It's crucial for our country and for the federal government to recognize relationships as legitimate," she said. "It affects things like a Christmas party or being able to be with your loved one as they're dying in the hospital."
Either way, Marshall says she is proud to be witnessing history.
"When I first fell in love with a girl, I was 14, and it was before Ellen [DeGeneres] had kissed another woman on television, it was before a lot of people even knew what a lesbian was," she said. "So, the fact that this is going before the supreme court, it's huge and overwhelming and really exciting."
Since the Supreme Court decided to hear the cases from New York and California, the National Organization for Marriage says they believe it's a sign that the court will reverse all lower courts and uphold Proposition 8.
Virginia is one of the states that bans same-sex marriage, unions and other contracts in its state constitution.