Montgomery Residents, Churches Talk Same-Sex Ruling

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By Ashley Thompson

Some people are rejoicing over the court's decision but others are not so happy.

Paul Hard is an associate professor of counseling at the University of Auburn Montgomery. He was married in Massachusetts, a state that recognizes same-sex marriage. But under The Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA, marriage between same-sex couples did not have to be recognized by the federal government.

"People that I know that have been together in monogamous relationships for 20 years have less civil rights than people who are married through common law," he explains.

Now, the Supreme Court has struck down DOMA. Hard says the court's ruling is a victory for the gay community.

"Initial reaction...I'm delighted," Hard says. "I see this as a great day for civil rights for at least 10 to 20 percent of American citizens."

Though not everyone is thrilled with the decision. And in Montgomery, even churches are split on the issue. Baxter Morris, a pastor at First Baptist Church of Montgomery, says he will continue to define marriage between a man and a woman.

"I have to remain true to the faith that I believe in and one of the first audibles of the Baptist Church is, I believe in the Bible," Morris says. "I will accept nothing else as my guide. So as the Bible defines marriage, that's how we'll have to define it."

Other churches are celebrating the court's ruling. Amy Harris is the president of P-Flag Montgomery, a support group for gays and their families. The group meets monthly at Immanuel Presbyterian Church, a church that welcomes everyone...regardless of sexual preference. Harris tells us she believes the Supreme Court got it right.

"I think it's very encouraging. People in Alabama get to have these federal benefits that we didn't have yesterday."

 

Same-sex marriage is not recognized in Alabama but now those married in other states who live here can reap federal benefits.

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