Same-sex marriage upheld by Supreme Court
A Supreme Court decision Wednesday will allow same-sex couples to marry and receive tax benefits, though the opportunity to apply for a marriage license will be on hold for about a month.
When Proposition 8 was ruled to be unconstitutional by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2010, the ruling was put on hold until the Supreme Court decision was made.
“It is not known when the Ninth Circuit will issue this order, but it could take a month or more,” said Nevada County Clerk-Recorder Gregory J. Diaz in a press release.
“County clerks and recorders shall not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples until this order is issued.”
The decisions Wednesday have no effect on the nearly three dozen states that do not allow same-sex marriage, including 29 that have included the bans in their constitutions, according to the Associated Press.
California joins 12 other states that allow same-sex marriage — Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.
The decision caused a stir of response from Nevada County residents, some of whom are excited, while others believe marriage should be reserved for only a man and woman.
“I have a gay daughter who got married within days of Prop. 8 getting through, and it’s been a struggle for them ever since,” said Penn Valley resident Eleanor MacDonald. “It’s been a very psychological, deep heaviness that’s been weighing on them.”
MacDonald said her daughter pays outrageous taxes, and the decision will allow for relief and equality.
“That’s going to make a big difference,” she said.
“It’s just time that humans get that love is the most important thing; it doesn’t matter what sex you are.”
Some said the focus should not be on the financial benefits of marriage, however.
“There are 30 states in our country that have banned gay marriage and only six who legalized it,” Nicole Tucker-Von Schoff said in response to a Facebook poll by The Union.
“Marriage is a choice made before God. If you are getting married to improve your benefits at the legal level, there is something seriously wrong with you. That is not love or commitment, it is greed. I don’t consider gays a minority, I consider it a lifestyle choice.”
One resident supported same-sex marriage but believed the Supreme Court circumvented the democratic process by going against what Californians voted through Prop. 8, which was passed with 51 percent of the vote.
“I feel like legalizing gay marriage is another natural progression our country needs to take, but it’s unfortunate that it goes against what Californians voted for,” said Grass Valley resident Kristen Day.
“It takes the democratic process away. We can’t vote for a president and then the other side goes, ‘You know what, you’re wrong. We’re going to change that.’”
The Supreme Court could have made a sweeping nationwide decision to allow same-sex marriages or make the ban on gay marriage unconstitutional but refrained from doing so.
That kind of across-the-board enforcement would have done everyone a disservice, said Gregg Lee, a Rough and Ready resident who married his husband, James Ellison, in June 2008.
“In my mind, (that would have shown) the same disrespect as forcing a gay man or lesbian out of the closet and into the public eye,” Lee said.
“We have to respect people’s journeys toward acceptance and understanding.”
Though Lee was able to marry in 2008, he knows others who missed the opportunity and are glad to have it restored.
“We know many people who have been waiting for years and were heartbroken when Prop. 8 passed,” Lee said.
“This just fills my heart with joy to know that our friends who are in committed, long-term relationships who missed the opportunity can now move forward with having their relationship recognized.”
Brooke Myhre-Shannon said she is looking forward to marrying her domestic partner and is excited to start planning their wedding.
“It feels wonderful,” said Myhre-Shannon, whose partner will be eligible for federal and health savings accounts after they are married.
“The biggest thing that (this) helps with is a little bit more sense of security.”
Because of the close margin that voted for Proposition 8 in Nevada County, Myhre-Shannon said she knew same-sex marriage was an inevitability even without the Supreme Court’s ruling.
“I know even if the Supreme Court didn’t go that way, we’d have no problem getting marriage equality because times are changing and people’s feelings are changing,” she said.
“It was more convenient that the Supreme Court took care of it for us, but California would have marriage equality anyway.”
To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4230.
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