UPDATE: Local Couples Respond to Supreme Court Gay Marriage Rulings

By: The Associated Press; Amanda Barren Email
By: The Associated Press; Amanda Barren Email

UPDATE 6/26/13 @ 12 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The rulings handed down by the United States Supreme Court are seen by the LGBT community as a major win.

The court ruled that California's ban on same-sex marriage, commonly known as "Proposition 8," is unconstitutional. The high court also said that the federal government must recognize legally married same-sex couples in the same manner as heterosexual couples.

Huntington residents Will Glavaris and Justin Murdock have been in a relationship for three years. They are engaged to be married. West Virginia does not recognize same-sex marriage. Despite that fact, they still see Wednesday's rulings as a victory.

"Will called before I could call him," Murdock said. "We cried together over the phone."

"It's something we've been waiting on and hoping for, and now to hear that now federally, we are seen as those who are married among us, at least are seen as equal, it is a huge."

The Liberty Counsel released a statement that read:

"The United States Supreme Court lost its legitimacy as an arbiter of the Constitution and the rule of law. Today is the death of the Court's legacy because the decision in the Federal Defense of Marriage Act Case defies logic and is a pure invention of a handful of Justices."

"Love is love," Glavaris said. "And not everybody is going to be happy with the decision, and I respect those who oppose this. But you've got to look at it; the country is moving forward, so we should move forward with it."

The Christian Coalition of America wrote:

"As a result, the court has put state marriage laws at risk as well as the religious liberties of tens of millions of America's Christians."

"Everybody is entitled to their opinion whether I agree with it or not; I am a Christian, too. Jesus loves me and this is all about love and you can have your own opinions on that, but it is a civil issue," Murdock said.

Bishop Michael J. Bransfield of the Wheeling-Charleston Catholic Diocese released the following statement:

“Today’s Supreme Court decisions are indicative of how secular American culture and our government have become. While on retreat this week, I will continue to pray for married couples and families in our Diocese.”

UPDATE 6/26/13 @ 12 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The President of "Fairness West Virginia" stood on the Steps of the United States Supreme Court Wednesday as the Justices handed down their decisions on two landmark cases involving gay marriage.

Coy Flowers said this after he learned of the decision to allow legally married same-sex couples the same benefits as heterosexual couples.

"It is a victory for all Americans! This ruling affirms that the U.S Constitution respects our common humanity and protects all of us, no matter our differences."

Flowers was on the steps with West Virginia's first openly gay lawmaker, and founder of Fairness West Virginia Delegate Steven Skinner. They were joined by Fairness board member Adam Smith.

A news release from the organization Wednesday said:

"These historic rulings do not end our work in the Mountain State This doesn’t change the shameful fact that 57,000 LGBT West Virginians still face discrimination at work and at home. It’s time for West Virginia to pass our Employment and Housing Non-Discrimination Act (EHNDA)!"

Join us tonight beginning on First at Five with a look at Wednesday's SCOTUS rulings.

ORIGINAL STORY 6/26/13 @ 10:45 a.m.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court says legally married same-sex couples should get the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples.

The court invalidated a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act Wednesday that has prevented married gay couples from receiving a range of tax, health and retirement benefits that are generally available to married people. The vote was 5-4.

The Supreme Court also cleared the way for same-sex marriage in California by holding that defenders of California's gay marriage ban did not have the right to appeal lower court rulings striking down the ban.

The court's 5-4 vote Wednesday leaves in place the initial trial court declaration that the ban is unconstitutional.

California officials probably will rely on that ruling to allow the resumption of same-sex unions in about a month's time.

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