U.S. Supreme Court Ruling A Sign That "Times Have Actually Changed"

DOMA ruling throws out law that defined marriage as between a man and a woman

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The Stonewall Inn in Manhattan, where many say the gay rights movement began.
Photo:Flickr Creative Commons, David Jones
The Supreme Court and Stonewall
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The Supreme Court and Stonewall
A Connecticut man and his husband got married in this past weekend.  Now on a honeymoon in New York, they were waiting to hear whether their marriage -- recognized by the state, but not by the nation -- would get the approval of the U.S. Supreme Court.  WNPR's Jeff Cohen has this report.
 
Mike Lawlor and I spoke by phone. 
 
"My husband David and I are seated in a Park across form the stonewall in in Manhattan where, 44 years ago on Friday, all this started."
 
Stonewall was the site of riots that, for many, mark the beginning of the gay rights movement.  Lawlor, a former state legislator who works for Governor Dannel Malloy, has long advocated for equality in Connecticut.
 
He says that when the decision was announced, people flooded out of the inn to celebrate. Now, he and his husband are celebrating, too -- their marriage is both a reality and a constitutional right.
 
Before the ruling, that wasn't the case.
 
"The law has been very clear that the federal government will not respect gay marriages performed in any state or in any country."
 
That meant a lot of very practical things.
 
"For example, if you lived in Connecticut and you were legally married in Connecticut, you had to file a whole series of real and fake tax returns just to fulfill your obligations under the tax laws."
 
But, for Lawlor, the court's ruling has other meanings, too -- not just about marriage, but about homosexuality.
 
"I think what people came to realize over time was that most people are straight, but some people are gay.  And people had brothers and sisters and coworkers and college roommates, children and parents...And I think when people came out and said they were gay, it opened the eyes of many people who never really thought about this before.  So, at the end of the day, it's a very real, practical decision for millions of people throughout the country.  But it's a very strong symbolic statement that times have actually changed."
 
And those changing times are now reflected in the law.
 
For WNPR, I'm Jeff Cohen.