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Supreme Court makes historic decisions regarding gay rights

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) – In a pair of major victories for the gay rights movement, the Supreme Court ruled married same sex couples are entitled to federal benefits, and by dismissing the appeal to California’s Proposition 8 essentially allowed same-sex marriages to continue there.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) – In a pair of major victories for the gay rights movement, the Supreme Court ruled married same sex couples are entitled to federal benefits, and by dismissing the appeal to California’s Proposition 8 essentially allowed same-sex marriages to continue there.

It’s a ruling Valerie Larabee thought she would never see in her lifetime. “I thought it would take 20 years to get to where we are today,” said Larabee.

The Supreme Court ruled the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. For same-sex couples who are married the dismantling of DOMA means getting social security survivor benefits, access to healthcare and many more federal rights.

Michael Picardi plans on marrying his longtime partner Grady James in California later this year. Picardi said, “We’ve been together for 7 years and we made a commitment to one another…the main thing is we’re going to be getting the same rights now as every other couple that are married have.”

It’s still unclear what the ruling means for same sex couples who legally married in other states but live in Utah – a state that has a constitutional ban against gay marriage.

Former State Representative Jackie Biskupski told ABC 4 Utah, “There will need to be rules made at the federal level about the ruling on the federal benefits so if I live in Utah and I have a legal marriage in California do I have federal benefits?”

Larabee said, “Each federal agency has to decide how they’re going to handle this so it will impact couples here in Utah in some shape and form.”

For Michael Picardi and Grady James, now that the federal government no longer discriminates against gay marriage, they feel the rest of the country will follow.

“As long as the feds are behind us I think the rest of the country is going to follow,” said James. Picardi finished the thought adding, “Well, the feds meaning the constitution.”

Already the momentum behind the freedom to marry movement is taking off. Just seven months ago there were only six states, plus the District of Columbia, where same sex couples could marry, now there’s double that.

Larabee said, “What were encouraged about today is the kids who’s parents are gay or lesbian can go to school now and say ‘my parents are married and I’m just like you.’”

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