Local same-sex couples call for more protection on anniversary of Supreme Court ruling
PENSACOLA, Fla. (WEAR) —
Sunday marked the one year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling which allowed same-sex couples to wed in all 50 states.
President Barack Obama tweeted "Marriage equality is one year old. But we still have a long way to go for full equality." Local same-sex couples echo that statement.
"I think there's still quite a bit to be done, because we can still be fired from our job, we're not protected," Sarah Humlie said.
Humlie and her wife, Lindsay Myers are part of the reason same-sex marriage is legal in Florida. The couple married in 2012 during a trip to Washington D.C., when they came back to Florida, their vows were not recognized. They became plaintiffs in the lawsuit to allow same-sex marriages after Humlie was denied access to her wife's health insurance. In January 2015, a judge ruled that same-sex couples could wed in the state. Six months later, the Supreme Court found the same. For the couple, today marks one years since their marriage has been recognized nationwide.
"I feel like people who take that for granted don't appreciate what that means when you're crossing state lines," Myers said. "It doesn't mean that your marriage is suddenly invalid."
Their fight is not over. As a lesbian couple, they are not protected very well. There is no law in Florida which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation at work, in schools or even housing. Myers also points out that there are still people trying to overturn the ruling.
"That's really scary to say that there are people out there actively fighting against the equality we've achieved," Myers said.
She is not letting that overshadow the happiness of this day. She said it is encouraging seeing so many couples be able to get married. Reverend Jim Merritt of Holy Cross Metropolitan Community Church agrees. He said that he ministered at least 60 weddings last year alone.
"Marriage is still doing well," Merritt said. "All my couples are still together. I haven't had a single divorce."
The anniversary is not only cause for celebration for those couples, but for him and his husband, Albert, as well. They got married the day marriage licenses were available in Florida- June 6, 2015.
"My partner and I have been together for 20 years before we were able to get married," Merritt said.
Both couples hope there will be a day they can celebrate another anniversary- the day LGBT community members are protected from discrimination on a statewide level.