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Marriage Equality – Kitsap County Joins the Nation in Celebration

While there is more work to do on many levels, today’s history making Supreme Court decision is worth celebrating.  In social justice work, in order to keep from being overwhelmed and getting burned out, we need to celebrate even small victories, and today was more than just a small victory, it was a huge one.SCOTUS Decision June 2015 Pics

Kitsap County joined folks around the nation in celebrating with at least two Bremerton bars hosting. One celebration was at the Honor Bar near Evergreen Park, and another was at the Toro Lounge downtown Bremerton.

 

The Supreme Court decision has far reaching impacts, and it is hard to know where to begin. However, I found some statements from a variety of organizations that I thought worth sharing. I have been working towards marriage equality for about 15 years, and many folks have been doing more for longer. Even though getting to this point in marriage equality has taken a long time, in some ways it seems like it happened fast. I guess because once the marriage equality ball started rolling through the states it really picked up speed.

The decision today is a positive thing for families all over the United States, including military families that include same sex spouses.  Since Kitsap County is a “Navy Town” the decision today affects many military families here. The American Military Partner Association posted in their blog:

“Nationwide marriage equality is a tremendous victory, and the progress made for LGBT service members and their families in just a few short years has been profound.” Before today’s decision “… even after so many states gained marriage equality, and even though the military recognized the legal marriages of our members, once they stepped off their military installation, the laws of the state often took precedence. Even if they lived in an equality state, it was very likely they would eventually be transferred; with no guarantees their new assignment would be in another equality state. They lived in fear of their families losing the everyday legal recognition others often take for granted, like married tax status, the ability to make healthcare decisions for your spouse, or enrolling your child in school.”

 The Kitsap Sun talked with the spouse of a Sailor on the USS Stennis in this article:
www.kitsapsun.com/news/local-news/supreme-court-ruling-erases-uncertainty-for-local-families-on-the-move_13438317

The effects of today’s Supreme Court ruling are so far reaching that, in a joint effort, the American Civil Liberties Union, Freedom to Marry, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal and National Center for Lesbian Rights created a page of information for families with questions about how this affects them:
http://marriageequalityfacts.org/

Lambda Legal was a key player in the legal part of the process and posted this on their blog:

“What a day! After decades of work by Lambda Legal and many others, we have at long last secured the freedom to marry for all same-sex couples throughout the entire United States. Today’s moving and inspirational decision in Obergefell v. Hodges is one for the history books.”

This victory for marriage equality is about love and families, and Kitsap PFLAG joins PFLAG National in celebrating the Supreme Court decision. PFLAG National board president Jean Hodges made this statement today:

“Today feels like a wedding that the entire country was invited to, and the whole PFLAG family is right up front with hearts overflowing and tears in our eyes. By affirming the rights of all loving couples to commit to each other with the full weight of legal protection that marriage affords, the Supreme Court has affirmed a founding principle that we must all continue to strive for: a more perfect union.”

The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.  On their blog they describe how youth are affected by this decision in a positive way:

“Today we celebrate the Supreme Court’s landmark decision to uphold marriage equality across America. This historic ruling not only affects couples who have been fighting to obtain the basic civil right to get married, but also the many youth who live in families with same-sex parents. Today, all youth, including those who identify as LGBTQ, can have hope that they will grow up in a nation that is moving towards respecting all human rights.”

One of the highlights for me today was  President Obama’s expression of support. Part of what he said this morning about the Supreme Court decision is:

White House marriage equality“This ruling is a victory for Jim Obergefell and the other plaintiffs in the case. It’s a victory for gay and lesbian couples who have fought so long for their basic civil rights. It’s a victory for their children, whose families will now be recognized as equal to any other. It’s a victory for the allies and friends and supporters who spent years, even decades, working and praying for change to come.”

for the complete transcript of what President Obama said today go to:
https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/06/26/remarks-president-supreme-court-decision-marriage-equality

 

To all of you that have played a part in getting us to where we are today, even if that part was just coming to the understanding yourself of how marriage equality is the right thing – Thank You!
~Marcie

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