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Love, family, liberty: Reactions to today's gay marriage Supreme Court decision

By Christina GeyerJune 26, 2015

Supporters gather at the Supreme Court Building
People gathered in front of the Supreme Court Building in Washington, DC, awaiting the Supreme Court's decision on gay marriage. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Today is a historic day. 

In a 5 to 4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage. The majority opinion, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, opened with: "The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity."

Throughout the day, we will be sharing an array of responses and reactions to today's landmark decision.

Check back frequently for updates and share your perspective on today's events in the comments below.   

John Geyer, 24 years old, California

"I don’t remember the last time my Facebook feed made me cry. 

I rolled out of bed, went online and saw all of my friends on Facebook posting about the Supreme Court ruling. I spent an extra 10 minutes reading my news feed and other articles. It was a very happy, emotional morning.

I’m not really one to go around and parade my homosexuality. I’m not one to go rally and march, but when I heard the news it made me grasp how important it really was to me — now that it is a real, true freedom.

When I first told my Dad I was gay, he said you shouldn’t love a specific gender — you should just love a person. That is the best advice I’ve ever been given. My family loves and respects me, my choices, my feelings and what I do. The only thing the ruling does for my family is make them happy for me.

In a broader aspect, today’s Supreme Court ruling can really relate to anything going on in America: Gay or straight, black or white, it is about loving the totality of everyone and everything. To me, love is appreciating everyone and everything around me. Love to me, is how I live my life: It is being kind and gentle, and respecting everyone. 

I have always been proud to be an American, but today I am proud to be a gay American."

[Editor's note: John Geyer is related to The Liberty Project editorial director Christina Geyer]

Two women react to the news of the Supreme Court's same-sex marriage decision.
Two women react to the news of the Supreme Court's same-sex marriage decision. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Abby Gail Pilgreen, 28 years old, Louisiana

"Today is a huge deal. The ruling shows that love is equal. We are one step closer to showing all Americans that everyone has a right to pursue happiness regardless of beliefs. We are a free nation in all ways.

My reaction to the decision was pure joy! Especially with all the hate being shown in this country, today gives hope that we can be open to all people. 

Legally, I can marry the woman I love and have the family I desire. My family, who is usually slightly opposed to same-sex marriage, has congratulated me. They even said it is about damn time. It warms my heart."

J. Nick Pitts, 29, Texas

"Winston Churchill said, “The farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” Today, the Supreme Court issued a ruling that departs from the past and charts a new course for the future. On this new course, there will be greater equality and richer liberty for the LGBT community, which is afforded the opportunity to experience the abundant joys of marriage. 

However, with change comes dissent. Among the dissenters are some Christians. Feeling discounted and somewhat persecuted, various groups of Christians responded with cries of alarm about this future course. Their cries took the form of questions. 

So the question I have been wrestling with since I heard the ruling is this: What is causing this response?  

Research shows that millennials don’t want to get married, heterosexuals don’t stay married, and there is an ever-increasing mentality that believes marriage to be this archaic institution that is no longer necessary.

Could it be that this is about more than marriage? Is it possible that this is about more than LGBT rights? Is this really a fight for equality? Or is this really about love?

In a world that seems saturated with hate and lacking in love, we fight for this glorious light of love in a dark, hateful world. Love is ferociously defended and openly welcomed. With open hands we receive it, with clenched fists we fight to let go of it. We do so because love is almost unexplainable. It blindsides us. We fall into it and, if necessary, painfully walk away from it. Love leaves us at a loss for words. 

The human experience yearns for this type of love: to be missed when you are gone and pursued when you are away are hallmarks of this love.

Love leaves us vulnerably exposed, but okay with this predicament because it allows for a deeper commitment. Italian writer Ceasar Pavese wrote, “You will be loved the day when you will be able to show your weakness without the person using it to assert his strength.” 

Vulnerably exposed and emotionally bare, the beloved is acutely aware of your past and intimately acquainted with you in the present, yet in the vows of marriage says "I am committed to you into the future, till death do us part." In the confines of marriage, safety and security can flourish as the couple moves along, together, in this course of life. Together on this new course, they experience life’s joys and trials, and celebrate the little victories. Love compels them forward and keeps them together.

Without marriage, they face this course of life alone. Reflecting on this isolated and undesired state, F. Scott Fitzgerald said, "The loneliest moment in someone's life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly."  

Today, the world is falling apart for some, inching closer to the biblical Gomorrah. For others, the world is finally coming together, moving towards that more perfect union. So how am I choosing to respond? I am going to love. I might not agree with you, but my disagreement with you is not going to keep me from loving you. I don’t see this as a win or a loss, I see this as a chance to respond in love. If history is any indication, love always wins and appearances can be deceiving."  


Same-sex marriage supporters celebrate outside the Supreme Court Building.
Same-sex marriage supporters celebrate outside the Supreme Court Building.Alex Wong/Getty Images

Hanna, 20 years old, New York

"I am a bisexual woman, with an open-minded, liberal family. In my life today, living in states where marriage equality has already been passed, I have every benefit in the world. Today's decision allows me to publicly declare my love anywhere I choose to live and to anyone I choose to be with.

When I heard the news, I cried, texted friends and then I called my mother. I have little faith in the American government, and in people doing the right thing. Today, I got some hope back.

My parents lived through the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, the AIDS epidemic, etcetera. They lost friends and family to senseless bigotry. My family sees today's ruling as one more step toward ending hate.

For love, family and equality, today legitimizes and protects the relationships of all Americans. It tells children that their parents are seen as equal to others, and that if anything happens to their biological parent, they will not be ripped away from their other, non-biological parent. It gives partners — now spouses! — the peace of mind that their parents, siblings and the government must recognize them as next of kin, and gives them comfort in knowing that they will be able to make medical and potential life-saving or life-ending decisions."

TJ Griffin, 32 years old, Texas

"Today, we witnessed the culmination of more than 45 years of fighting for equal protection under the law that began with the Stonewall Riots. This historic decision by the Supreme Court isn’t just a win for loving same-sex couples, but also a victory for the United States. Today, love and equality won.

I set an alarm to remind me to be in front of my laptop reading the SCOTUS Blog around 8:45 a.m. I was on pins and needles. Just after 9 a.m., I saw Justice Kennedy deliver the opinion and I knew we had won. I just knew it. I yelled, “We won!” I was so excited.

I’ve followed this case closely since the Supreme Court struck down DOMA three years ago. This morning was a time of reflection for me on how far we have come in terms of acceptance towards the LGBT community in the United States, and how fast the tidal wave of support for same-sex marriage has come in such a short time. My partner Reed and I now have the opportunity, just like every other American, to someday exchange vows and say “I do” before our family and friends. 

Today’s decision shows, once again, that America has the means to move forward and that when people come together to promote change, they won't stop until the job is done." 

Arielle Cronig and Elaine Cleary outside the US Supreme Court Building after the ruling in favor of same-sex marriage.
Arielle Cronig and Elaine Cleary outside the US Supreme Court Building after the ruling in favor of same-sex marriage.Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Weldon Woni Lang, 38, Texas

"My reaction to the Supreme Court decision was a bit muddled: My partner of 16 years was taking a morning nap next to me; I instantly reached over to hug him and I began to bawl uncontrollably. He was startled, so it caused me to pull the raw emotions back a bit. I immediately took to social media and began pouring out emotionally to the ones who weren't half asleep. 

To me, today's ruling means that I am truly considered a citizen in the United States of America. In this country, women have not been treated equally, there was segregation against African Americans and there has been targeted hate toward the LGBTQ community. Now that the Supreme Court has ruled in our favor, I hope that hate ends here and no other group is targeted.

As a whole, I hope America will finally begin to move forward and focus deeply on more important issues worldwide, rather than spending time and money on stopping true love from occurring.  

Hopefully the ruling means more than just a piece of paper. My partner and I want to adopt soon and the marriage license was an obstacle in our way. Hopefully the adoption process will be easier for gay families and children in the system who just want a loving family to call their own." 

Deb Smith, 59, California

"The ruling by the Supreme Court today affirms that all Americans deserve equality rights, equal protections under the law, and that discrimination is not tolerated in this country. The members of the LGBT community, and their families, have been treated differently with regard to marriage rights, tax laws, health benefits, employment, adoption, inheritance laws — the list goes on. There are hundreds of laws that this one ruling will strike down today and provide equality for all United States’ citizens.

I was filled with so many different emotions, from shear joy to overwhelming disbelief. I have waited so long and never thought I would see this in my lifetime. I have worked on this campaign for many years, and today my efforts, along with thousands of others, came to fruition. I have lived in a neighborhood where I was not always welcome and watched people line up at Chick Fil A in my neighborhood to show their support of a company who campaigned against equal rights in California.  

While I don't currently have a partner, the ruling affirms for my children that our family deserves the same rights and protections as all other US citizens. It affirms that if my children or their children are LGBT, (and for all generations to come), they too are equal. This law is about equality. I wish my own children were able to have their family recognized as equal when I was partnered, so they would know we were a family, too.

To me, the ruling means if the day comes that I want to marry someone, I am protected under the law to get married have equal rights across all 50 states. It means if I am married, I am not treated differently based on the state I am living in, visiting, traveling through; it means my marriage is recognized and protected equally.

Love is a huge word filled with many meanings. Love is a feeling of always wanting the best for the person, willing to make sacrifices for them. Love is being with someone who I want to open my day with and end my day with, it is someone I will carry if necessary and they will do the same for me. Love is often proclaimed but rarely acted upon in its deepest sense. Love is a feeling that every human should have and hold onto."

Karly Hanson, 20, Texas

I first became aware of discrimination toward gays during my freshman year of high school.

I had written a paper for a class about why I believed everyone should be able to marry whomever they love. My 14-year-old self compared the forbidden love between homosexuals to that of Romeo and Juliet. When one of my friends read my paper at lunch she started yelling at me. I was so surprised — I thought everyone would naturally agree with me. But she told me it was against her religion, and refused to be my friend from that moment on.

My family is traditional and conservative, and my parents and I do not agree on a lot of issues. Gay marriage has been one of them, but I think with time they are becoming more open to the idea. They are beginning to realize it's not a choice, but a natural-born way of life. I hope they, and others from their generation, continue to open their minds.

I am so excited that today, America has finally ruled in favor of equality. Love has won, and as long overdue as it is, it is still a victory worth celebrating.