Editor's note: On March 26 and 27, the Supreme Court will hear two cases that may redefine how the country recognizes same-sex unions. In one, United States v. Windsor, the court could determine whether the federal Defense of Marriage Act violates the constitutional rights of same-sex couples to marry. The other, Hollingsworth v. Perry, tackles Proposition 8, which denies same-sex marriage in California and which voters narrowly approved in 2008.
Yahoo News asked Americans who will be directly impacted by these cases to share their stories and perspectives. Here's one.
FIRST PERSON | We live in a small rural town in western New York, and we are definitely not your average family around here.
First, we are a same-sex couple and have been married since May 2010 -- before it was even legal to do so here in New York. Moreover, my wife and I are older than 30, and we are just now expecting our first baby this July!
We are very excited, of course, but I wish I could say the same for the rest of our community. I can't help but feel like no matter where we go, heads turn and whispers follow. We have a wonderful life together and a great family to support us, so it is relatively easy to ignore what others have to say now, but just a few short years ago, it was a different story.
We met on St. Patrick's Day in 2009 and fell in love almost immediately. We were engaged in November that year and planned our wedding for the following spring. Unfortunately, we saw pretty quickly just how hard it is for same-sex couples to get married. Our first hurdle was that New York, of course, did not allow gay marriage at the time, so we had to find another state to get married. Then we had to face just how sad it was that so many of our friends and family couldn't be there to share our special day with us. We had to find someone to officiate the wedding who didn't think we were going to Hell, since we both identify as Christians and it was important that our spirituality was incorporated into the ceremony.
Once we returned home from the wedding, we had a beautiful reception in the park. While there, we were harassed by two town drunks yelling anti-gay slurs at us and threatening us until we had to call the police. Of course, being the small town that we are, it went out over the police scanner as "trouble at the lezzy's wedding." But the police did at least come and make them leave and we were able to continue with our celebration.
Now, as we approach our third wedding anniversary, I can't help but find myself wondering how the two upcoming Supreme Court cases on Prop 8 and DOMA could affect our life. We had somewhat of a rocky start just fighting for the right to be married, but we haven't really had to do much fighting since then. I wonder could these cases change that for us? And if so, would that make things easier or harder? While I want to get excited about the positive things that could come out of this, I have to ask what if they defend DOMA or uphold Prop 8? What precedent will that set? What if the federal government decides that it's time to overrule the state laws, what would that mean for my marriage? And more importantly what would that mean for my baby, my Sophie, what will we be teaching her? I worry so much for her future -- more than I worry for mine, my wife's, or anyone else's. I want her to grow up in a world knowing that she is not a second-class citizen and just because she has two mommies doesn't make her any different than anyone else.
- Family & Relationships
- New York