A major victory was scored today for same sex marriage. When the Supreme Court handed down their decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, social media exploded with joyful celebration as gay couples and families took to Facebook and Twitter to express their happiness. Many Facebook news feeds turned to a sea of red equal signs-symbols of gay equality.
The moment is a huge, historic and important as it marks the beginning of federally recognized marriages in the states where gay marriage is allowed. That means gay couples who are married in those states will be able to receive the same federal benefits as straight couples.
Facebook and Twitter were flooded with reactions. Many took time out to praise the decision.
Ellen DeGeneres Tweeted “It’s a supremely wonderful day for equality. Prop 8 is over, and so is DOMA. Congratulations everyone. And I mean everyone.”
Twitter user @mysoftballprobz explained that same sex marriage does not affect him: “I’m straight and two gay men or women getting married doesn’t hurt me or affect who I love. #LoveIsLove“
Lighthearted jokes were also abundant.
“Along with gay & lesbian celebrants the next most joyous are divorce attorneys,” said Twitter user @JoyceCarolOates.
@UhHuhHerMusic lamented her lack of good outfit choices for upcoming nuptials: “I don’t know what to wear to all the gay weddings I will now be attending. Good job Supreme Court!!!”
@RobDenBleyker joked: “MANDATORY GAY MARRIAGE PASSED. HUSBANDS AND WIVES TEARFULLY SEPARATE, AWAIT GAY SPOUSE ASSIGNMENTS.”
A viral video making its way around Facebook showed Nancy Pelosi shrugging her shoulders and saying “Who cares?” when asked about Michele Bachmann’s statement that “No man, not even a Supreme Court, can undo what a holy God has instituted.”
A picture circulating on Facebook showed three people standing on the roof of a house enrobed in rainbow colored paint, holding a sign that said “Bye Bye Doma.” The house is owned by a gay advocacy group and is located directly across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church, a fundamentalist Christian organization that pickets the funerals of gay people as well as military member who have lost their lives serving the country.
A story about the potential deportation of one married gay man also made its way around social media; a judge halted deportation proceedings within moments of the Supreme Court ruling, allowing the man to stay in the United States with his husband.
People of all orientations and gender identities had something to say:
“I’m thrilled about the fact that the Supreme Court recognizes this IS what the American people really want,” said Sharon Knox Burd, “I’m straight but I have tons of friends and family members who deserve to have equal right under the law. We grew up that way, aunt so and so has been with aunt so and so for 40 years!! Longer than most of our heterosexual relatives 🙂 I AM PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN TODAY!!”
Glen Marshall, a Facebook commentator, said “Now that one question is settled with the DOMA decision, I’d bet that additional litigation is coming to “clarify” and expand/restrict the scope and impact of it. In particular, it is still OK for states to not recognize same-sex marriage performed in other states or countries. And there are still other forms of discrimination that are more insidious than not recognizing a same-sex marriage. This roller coaster ride is not done.”
Rob Van Meter, a gay man, said “I am both excited, and fearful of the backlash by people who have a sick interpretation of CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS. It is not your right to decide for others how to live your life, and NEWSFLASH, GOD did NOT write the Bible, and Jesus is not weeping….If that were true, me being a wonderful person and my kindness to others is negated by the fact that I don’t fornicate with females?”
Kathleen Proud Keyte said the decision “makes me less embarrassed being an American.”
Self-described “straight, happily married” woman Sarah Schroeder Trachsel said “I know there’s some disappointment out there that the Prop 8 case didn’t get a broader ruling, but I think this is actually a good thing. In refusing to hear the case, the SCOTUS ruled that gay marriage gives NO INJURY to straight marriage, which paves the way for future cases. I am a little disappointed that I didn’t see new cases within two hours of the ruling though.”
Gay couples posted pictures of their children smiling, laughing and sharing family time together in celebration of what the decision means for future generations. Some spoke movingly about what their struggle has mean to them personally:
Tracy Levesque talked about the financial implications: “This decision is not about wedding cakes and $120/head catering, it’s about people not losing their homes because they cannot collect a dead spouse’s social security benefits. The economic implications of this for all married GLBT US citizens is enormous, especially the most economically vulnerable.”
While today’s decision marks a significant landmark in the fight for LGBT rights, there is still much work to be done. But the inevitable landslide to federal same sex marriage seems more tangible than ever.
By: Rebecca Savastio