SHERMAN, TX-Hundreds of same-sex marriage supporters cheered outside the Supreme Court after two monumental rulings Wednesday.
"Now, we will be married. And we will be equal to every other family in California," said Sandy Steer.
The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 vote, ruled unconstitutional the Defense of Marriage Act that denied legally married same-sex couples the same benefits provided to heterosexual couples. The high court also overruled Proposition 8, that would bar gay and lesbians from marriage in California. That vote was also 5-4.
"This is a dangerous precedent, which strips power away from Congress with respect to defining national marriage policy," said Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO).
Wednesday, we asked Texomans about the rulings and a local professor about the societal impacts of these decisions.
Texomans we talked to were divided on the Supreme Court's ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act. I also spoke with a Grayson College Professor, who tells us how the public's attitude towards gay rights and same-sex marriage has changed over the past 20 years.
Wednesday's 5-4 vote by the Supreme Court striking down part of DOMA, allowing same sex couples the same benefits as other couples, and the overrulling of Proposition 8, allowing same-sex marriage to continue in California, are not sitting well with Sherman resident Charlie Jarvis.
"I personally just feel like it should be between a man and a woman, I don't have any problem with somebody else. But as far as turning our whole country into it, I don't like that," he said.
But Steven Anderson agreed with the ruling.
"It's fair. If you love someone, you love someone. It's only fair," he said.
"It's a major ruling as far as civil rights issues in this country."
Grayson College Government Professor, Mary Linder, said neither Supreme Court decision will end the marriage equality debate. In fact, she said the rulings open the door to other issues.
"What you're seeing is maybe in the future, with future challenges, it could make it where Texas won't necessarily have to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples but would have to recognize those marriages," she said.
Linder said since DOMA was signed 17 years ago, the public opinion towards same-sex marriage has changed. She said now, more than half of the U.S. favors recognizing those unions and a Pew Research Center poll puts that number at 51 percent.
"What you're starting to see is as people become more aware of the issues and become more comfortable in the issues, they're realizing that 'ok, I understand it a little better and I don't necessarily oppose it so much,'" she said.
Linder said regardless whether you oppose or support same sex marriage, Wednesday's rulings are just the first of many others to come.
"We still have a myriad of other issues with respect to civil rights matters. This is just one piece in the equality struggle for so many different groups, so I think it's a landmark victory," she said.
We asked what you thought about the Supreme Court's decision in an online poll. Forty-three percent agree with the high court's rulings, while 57 percent disagree.
U.S. Congressman Ralph Hall released this statement on the ruling:
"I am very disappointed by the Supreme Court's rulings that impact the traditional institution of marriage... This is a blow to traditional family values and another reason that we need a President who will stand up for those values."
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