Shouts of victory rang out from people outside of the United States Supreme Court to the people at the Richmond County Courthouse in the Garden City. The excitement follows a Friday morning decision to legalize same-sex marriage across the country.
Brett Clark and Kyle Friez are among many in the CSRA ready to ring wedding bells in the Peach State after the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality.
“America made history today. Kyle and I are beyond grateful that our nation sees marriage as an agreement of trust, faithfulness, and most of all love between two people,” Clark stated.
Clark, of Martinez, proposed to Friez, of Atlanta, in April of 2014 in Jamaica. See their story here. Clark told News Channel 6’s Renetta DuBose they are planning a 2017 wedding after Friez graduates from medical school. But Clark said new plans are underway now that they can get hitched in Georgia.
Members of Augusta Pride weighed in on the decision, which came during the organization’s week of events.
“Many of us have gone to our straight friends and family’s weddings hoping that one day we can do the same everywhere in the United States. We’re just happy that we can throw our own shindigs here in Augusta,” said James Mintz, who serves as Budget Director for Augusta Pride.
Kevin Zalinsky celebrated with a text message from his mom.
“She says Kevin, did you hear this amazing news and I was like no mom, what amazing news and she was like, you can get married in any state in the entire country. That’s amazing news,” he said.
Augusta Pride Vice President Lonzo Smith addressed the importance of the ruling.
“Without having marriage equality, there are about 2,133 laws that are granted to a person just because they are married or legally married. You can inherit, you can have access to health care, you can have access to your spouse when they are in the hospital,” Smith said.
Annette and Ashlee Edwards are already in a same-sex marriage. The two told News Channel 6 they eloped in New York in August of 2013. Click here to see their wedding. The Supreme Court’s decision is still good news to them.
“It hit me. We’re real now,” Annette Edwards said.
Now that same sex marriage is legal in all 50 states, they are planning a wedding in Georgia.
“We work. We pay takes. We live our lives just as anyone else,” Ashlee Edwards said.
The decision means more paperwork for the Edwards couple, but they say that means they can move forward living life.
“We’re no longer seen as roommates or friends. If something were to happen to her, God forbid, we would have rights to each other’s benefits, her life insurance,” Annette Edwards added. “We don’t have to go through back doors to cover each other.”
Smith added the ruling is just a first step. He said there are still other issues the LGBT community faces, such as workplace discrimination.