Students react to Supreme Court’s decision on legalizing gay marriage in all states

When MU sophomore MJ Cihak heard about the Supreme Court’s decision, she cried.

MU sophomore MJ Cihak said she was charging her phone this morning when a friend told her of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to legalize gay marriage in all 50 states. At first she didn’t believe it, but upon confirmation on the New York Times’ website, Cihak said she proceeded to cry and send a screenshot of the article to everyone she knew.

The Supreme Court handed down a 5-4 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges 5-4 on June 26 that ruled gay marriage was a legal right. Missouri was one of 14 states with a ban on same-sex marriage.

The decision was announced around 7 a.m., and Boone County began issuing marriage licenses just after 10:30 a.m.

“The Recorder’s office is pleased to be able to offer this important service to all of the citizens of Boone County, and assures that all applicants will receive the excellent customer service and attention that we have prided ourselves on for many years,” Boone County Recorder of Deeds Nora Dietzel said in a news release.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster dismissed appeals filed by the State of Missouri in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals and in the Missouri Supreme Court, according to a news release. Appeals included the State of Missouri v. Jennifer Florida and Kyle Lawson v. the State of Missouri.

MU junior Laura Farrington said with this decision, LGBTQ members are a little bit closer to being recognized as equal in the eyes of American society.

“I don’t know if I could put the feeling into words,” Farrington said. “I’m just really excited. I’m very, very happy that we finally got to this point.”

MU graduate Guillermo Herrera grew up having two moms who live in Missouri. They’ve been dating for 28 years. While Herrera doesn’t think marriage would change his family’s dynamic, he does understand and supports the legal advantages his parents could receive.

“Now everybody has the chance to get married and solidify their love with a legal document,” Herrera said.

Gov. Jay Nixon released a statement today in support of the ruling.

“Today’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges is a major victory for equality and an important step toward a fairer and more just society for all Americans,” Nixon said. “No one should be discriminated against because of who they are or who they love. In the coming days, I will be taking all necessary and appropriate actions to ensure this decision is implemented throughout the state of Missouri.”

Not all Missouri leaders supported the decision, however. Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville) said she was disappointed with the decision.

“Decisions on marriage policy should be left in the hands of the 50 states, allowing those who wish to define marriage as being between one man and one woman, as we did in Missouri, to do so,” Hartzler said in a statement. “Today’s ruling tramples on the voice of the people. I will continue to champion marriage as the union between one man and one woman so every child has the opportunity to have both a mom and a dad.”

Rep. Tom Dempsey (R-St. Charles) said in a statement that this decision violates citizen’s First Amendment rights.

“In 2004, the citizens of our state voted overwhelmingly to put into the Missouri Constitution a definition of marriage that reflected the history and traditions of Western civilization for centuries,” Dempsey said in a statement. “Now, a handful of lawyers in Washington, D.C. have decided that they know better and that citizens are incapable of determining such important questions under their own state laws and constitutions.”

Rep. Ron Richard (R-Joplin) also disapproved due to religious freedom.

“We are deeply concerned about the ripple effects of this decision,” Richard said. “Will certain religious organizations and people of many different faiths now have to choose between violating their deeply held beliefs or risk being dragged into court?”

Raised as a Christian, MU junior Natalie Brunk said identifying as a lesbian has been complicated.

“I think that the world wants me to pick a side, to be Christian or be gay,” Brunk said. “The thing is, those two things can coexist. They’re not mutually exclusive or independent.”

Currently in a year and a half long relationship, Brunk said she and her girlfriend have talked about the idea of marriage before.

“Before today we couldn't get married in either of our home states,” Brunk said. “ ... It’s good to know now that my family can come to my wedding, just down the street from my house.”

Supporters of the LGBTQ community are tweeting about the decision using the hashtag “LoveWins.”

“It’s an incredible day,” Cihak said. “It’s a day for celebration. But, tomorrow we’ve got to get back to work, because the fight isn’t over.”

Follow the Maneater for further updates about the decision.

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