The Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on gay marriage last week was met with joy from the gay and lesbian community across the nation, including locals who rejoiced in restored legal rights and the ruling’s symbolic implications.
“I’m going to be able to marry the love of my life,” Malibu resident and Olympic legend Greg Louganis told NBC.
Gay marriages in California resumed last Friday after the Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld a lower court’s ruling declaring California’s Proposition 8 unconstitutional.
The Court also ruled a portion of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which passed in 1996 with bipartisan support and defined marriage as between a man and a woman, unconstitutional because it denied same-sex couples federal benefits enjoyed by other married couples. The court’s decision made the more than 100,000 legally married U.S. gay couples eligible for tax breaks, pension rights and other federal benefits.
Louganis took to national airwaves to celebrate the ruling.
In an interview on NBC’s “Today” show last week, Louganis said he was elated to be able to marry his fiancee in his home state. He became engaged to his partner Johnny Chaillot in June, before the court’s decision had been made.
“Now we can go forward and be recognized as a married couple,” he said.
In an interview with CNN, Chaillot candidly said he never expected to see such a ruling be handed down.
“The world has changed, and [when I was] growing up…I really never thought that this day would come. It’s just a huge victory for the movement, for America,” Chaillot said. “Everyone can be treated equally and fairly under the eyes of the law.”
Malibu real estate agent Barrie Livingstone said the Court’s decision is the first step in the road to equality for the LGBT community.
“True equality is my dream. The government of the USA needs to make it illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation [as soon as possible], and in every state,” Livingstone said.
He believes discrimination against the gay community is largely rooted in religion.
“The hideous injustice that society has allowed to happen to gay people has been perpetuated through the hierarchy of organized religion…Religious beliefs are a fundamental American entitlement as are guns,” Livingstone said. “So if you don’t like gay people, sit at home with your gun collection and get used to it, because gays have been around since the dawn of time and will be around until its demise.”
With the ruling, Livingstone said he now possessed the opportunity to live the same life heterosexual people had been taught to expect.
“One day he’ll come along, the man of my dreams…and guess what? I’ll now be able to marry him,” Livingstone said.
For Louganis and Chaillot, the ruling is the beginning of a new chapter.
“Both Johnny and I, our parents are no longer with us, and that was the one fear my mother had: That I would have to spend my life alone as a gay man,” Louganis told CNN. “And now that has changed.”