COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- Clare Mallory and Meagan O’Nan have been together for 5 years and were overwhelmed with joy when they heard the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act.
“I started crying. It surprised me at how emotional I was because it really hit home that this is a civil rights thing and it made me realize that I haven’t felt like a full citizen in the last 5 or 6 years, which is a shame so this is a huge, huge step forward,” said Clare Mallory.
The Court stuck down a provision of the 17 year old Defense of Marriage Act that denies federal benefits to same sex couples who are legally married. Despite, the ruling, gay Mississippians still won’t be allowed to marry. Meagan knows it’s an uphill battle.
“I’m from Mississippi, and I came out here and I had a very traumatic experience coming out and I think that’s true for about 99.9% of people who are gay and come out in Mississippi. It’s very traumatic and the wound is so deep that it takes a lot of hard work and a lot of healing to move past it. That’s the way it’s gone down in Mississippi so far and it’s just gonna take time,” said O’Nan.
Reverend Joseph Stone is the Pastor of Second Baptist Church in Starkville. He’s not happy with the Court’s decision.
“I’m in disagreement with how they’re defining marriage now through the Supreme Court. However, I’m not against people who have been together in same-sex unions getting the benefits that I believe they deserve. But from a biblical stand point, I believe marriage is strictly between a man and a woman,” said Stone.
People throughout the State are mixed on the ruling. On twitter, Brandi writes, “It’s a no-brainer. The majority can’t deny the minority rights. It’s, you know, unconstitutional. A Bible is irrelevant to US law.”
But Bobby McCoy disagrees, “Sad day in America religious freedoms, definition of marriage and our political system were tore (sic) apart today. Reverend Stone says even though we may not all agree on same-sex marriage, we should at least respect one another.”
“I think we will attract more people by loving them rather than condemning them,” said Reverend Stone.
Clare and Meagan know the weight and stigma of being a gay couple in Mississippi, but they also now see a light in what was once a dim reality.
“I was very nervous to come here and talk about this but I knew it’s calling me to be more courageous and more loving than I’ve ever been before because of that clash, you cannot live in fear forever and we have to rise above that fear and learn to love each other,” said O’Nan.
Clare and Meagan hope Wednesday’s ruling will open up a discussion about same-sex marriage in the Magnolia State. Same-sex marriage has been adopted by 12 States and the District of Columbia.