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 | My fiancee and I will be watching the Supreme Court with anxiety and anticipation as they consider two cases concerning same-sex marriage: Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v. Windsor. These two cases will impact the lives of countless LGBT citizens like us across the United States.
If the Supreme Court chooses to uphold these bans on same-sex marriage, LGBT families will continue to live in legal limbo, lacking federal recognition and required to navigate the hodgepodge of different state laws. However, if the Supreme Court were to overturn DOMA and legalize same-sex marriage, LGBT couples across the nation will finally be able to enjoy the rights and recognition given to heterosexual couples.
Although my fiancee and I have been engaged since July, we have not yet made any firm wedding plans. We will be moving out of Ann Arbor, Mich., once my fiancee finishes her degree at the University of Michigan. We aren't quite sure where we will end up living after she graduates, and in this difficult job market, we have to take whatever opportunities we can find. Because each state has its own approach to same-sex marriage, we may end up in a state that won't recognize our relationship. At 26, I have seen many of my friends get married and start families, and I want the opportunity to invite them to my own wedding.
Marriage equality means more than just symbolic recognition; marriage comes with tangible benefits that many people in straight couples take for granted, such as the ability to file federal income taxes jointly or more easily secure health insurance coverage for a spouse. My fiancee and I plan on building our lives together whether or not we end up living in a state where we can marry legally. Ending DOMA would give our lives a greater degree of stability and certainty.
No matter what the Supreme Court decides, though, I am optimistic about the future. I remember when the courts legalized same-sex marriage in Iowa in 2009, when I was a senior at the University of Iowa. I remember taking part in the celebrations erupting on campus, holding aloft a rainbow flag among the crowd gathered on the Pentacrest. We are building momentum toward a freer and more loving future, and I look forward to sharing that future with my wife-to-be.
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