York Co. reaction divided on gay marriage rulings

rsouthmayd@heraldonline.comJune 26, 2013 

People across York County offered strong opinions about Wednesday’s Supreme Court rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8.

Some were happy, some were angry and some simply didn’t understand what had taken so long.

Amanda Woolwine works at Winthrop University and said she is a lesbian. She had an emotional reaction to learning that the federal government will now recognize same-sex marriage.

“Actually, I cried,” she said. “It was just a really important moment for people, straight, gay or otherwise.”

Kelly James taught sociology at Winthrop for 11 years and served as the adviser for GLoBAL, the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender ally league for 10 years. She said this decision wasn’t just about gay rights, it was about equal protection under the law.

“I’ve been waiting for this,” she said. “I was against DOMA when it passed because I believe the Constitution should be used to add rights and clarify rights and DOMA was used to restrict.”

Because of the court’s ruling, any same-sex marriage performed in a state where such action is legal will be recognized by the federal government, making same-sex spouses eligible for federal benefits.

Allen Roop, however, said the court’s decision was not at all to his liking.

“I am definitely against the Supreme Court ruling because it takes us down further into the moral depths of hell,” said Roop while shopping at Manchester Village in Rock Hill.

Mike McKinney, a Rock Hill native who lives in Charleston, has been involved in the “gay political situation” for many years. He said that getting married involves more than 1,000 legal rights for the partners involved.

“A lot of people don’t understand that when you sign that little marriage license, you are signing rights and protections to yourself and your significant other,” he said.

McKinney said the court rulings made him “ecstatic.” He said he and his partner have been together for 23 years. They aren’t married (gay marriage in South Carolina is banned under Amendment One) in this state or any other, but McKinney said if same-sex marriage were legal in South Carolina, as he believes it eventually will be, they’d walk down and sign the paperwork tomorrow.

“We’re going to be together the rest of our lives,” he said.

McKinney is not alone when he says same-sex marriage is inevitable in South Carolina. Ryan Wilson, executive director for South Carolina Equality, said Wednesday’s decision was a call to action to change South Carolina’s marriage law.

“This is a real turning point for our community because the highest court has said that a same-sex couple is equal to a heterosexual couple,” Wilson said.

James said South Carolina’s history indicates there likely will be resistance to any change in marriage laws, including the overturning of DOMA. Because of this federal ruling, though, James said it should be difficult for South Carolina laws to block any federal benefits now available to same-sex South Carolina couples who were married in one of the states where it is legal.

Woolwine said many people oppose same-sex marriage because of religious convictions. She said she understands people who hold their own principles, but she said it’s unfair to hold others to them.

“You have to be able to look outside yourself and your own personal religious convictions to think about who it affects,” Woolwine said, explaining that legally married same-sex couples have been suffering across the country because of DOMA and Proposition 8, the same-sex marriage ban in California effectively overturned by the high court Wednesday.

While she is not married, Woolwine said she has friends who were legally married in California before Proposition 8 was passed in 2008.

“Their marriage was in question,” she said. “Their children were in question.”

In Fort Mill’s Baxter Village, Cupcrazed Cakery brought back their “equality cupcakes” to celebrate the court rulings. The cupcakes feature the Human Right's Campaign's red marriage equality symbol on the icing.

The bakery garnered a lot of attention after it first released the cupcakes in the spring when the court was hearing arguments about DOMA and Proposition 8. Much of that attention was negative. But Wednesday was different.

“We’ve only had positive feedback so far,” said employee Susannah Wine of the cupcakes’ re-emergence after the court rulings. The bakery made 48 equality cupcakes and by closing time Wednesday, all but two had been sold.

One couple, Nicole and Graham Odom, drove to the shop from Charlotte to purchase them.

“We love to see local companies supporting equal rights for all people,” Nicole said. “We’re hoping North and South Carolina will get the picture and follow suit.”

VIDEO: Equality cupcakes

Rachel Southmayd •  803-329-4072

Fort Mill Times is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service