By Mischa Arnosky
Wednesday's ruling by a divided U.S. Supreme Court striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act brought throngs of people to the Capitol. But, if you didn’t make it to Washington, DC — regardless of your position on the matter — you probably have strong opinion on the issue.
A sampling of Patch readers throughout Eastern Pennsylvania following the decision indicated many fell on the side of the Supreme Court’s ruling (which can be read in its entirety here).
Stephen Francis Lucey, who posted on the Ardmore-Merion-Wynnewood Facebook page said, “In a hundred years we're going to look like inbred monkeys for arguing about this.”
Frank Brigandi, who posted on Haverford-Havertown Facebook page, was a bit more reserved in his opinion. He said, “The casual defining goal of humanity, is ultimately happiness. Love, makes people happy. If you have issues with who other people love, marry or cherish, you have no tolerance of humanity, find your own peace first, then you'll be at peace with others. Pretty simple stuff.
Mark Kirkner, on Phoenixville Patch’s Facebook page said, “Finally America joins the 21st Century.”
And Shawna Kat Powers, posting on the Roxborough-Manayunk Facebook page, said, “I'm proud to be a lesbian and an American. It’s about damn time!”
'We still have work to do'
Adrian Shanker, President of the group Equality PA on Wednesday applauded the the court’s decision, but said there's still a long way to go.
"It's important to remember that while these rulings are very positive...we still have much more work to do to be fully equal," he said.
LGBT equality is about more than just marriage, Shanker said, but he added the ruling, especially on the DOMA case, is a good jumping off point for a closer look at equality issues.
He noted that the decision came on the 10th anniversary of Lawrence vs. Texas, an important gay rights ruling.
"It's truly a historic day," Shanker said, but also noted that the court stopped short of making a ruling that would have created a constitutional right to marry.
While the DOMA ruling is significant, Shanker said the Prop 8 decision could affect people in Pennsylvania as well, as same sex couples from this state chose to get married in California.
"To be honest, my mind right now is an interesting emotional place," he said.
He and his husband married in Connecticut earlier this year, and are waiting to see how the DOMA ruling will affect them.
A lot of couples will be doing the same, Shanker said. There are still questions to be answered, and more legislation to be passed.
"This is not a done deal," he said, "but it's certainly a landmark day."
'A step in the right direction'
Hatboro resident Andrea Myers likens the federal government’s recognition of same-sex marriage to a passport or a driver’s license that’s only issued in 13 states.
Myers, a Democrat vying for a seat on the Hatboro Borough Council, said that while Wednesday’s Supreme Court ruling to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, the law barring the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, was “definitely a step in the right direction,” the decision was “not as far-reaching” as she had hoped.
Not everyone agreed with the court's decision. The Diocese of Allentown also weighed in on the ruling. In a statement, it said, “The Diocese of Allentown stands with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops which has called today ‘a tragic day for marriage and our nation.’ The Diocese agrees with the Bishop's Conference which said, ‘The common good of all...depends upon a society that strives to uphold the truth of marriage. Now is the time to redouble our efforts in witness to this truth. The future of marriage and the well-being of our society hang in the balance.’ "
What’s your reaction? Tell us in the comments.
(Theresa Katalinas, Tom Coombe and Lucy Bennett contributed to this report.)