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People in Cville React to Supreme Court Rulings - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

People in Cville React to Supreme Court Rulings on Same-Sex Marriage

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The Supreme Court ruled the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional Wednesday. That means the court believes married same-sex couples deserve the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples. But here in Virginia, the ruling may have little effect. 

Right now proponents of same-sex marriage are celebrating Wednesday's Supreme Court decisions outside the federal courthouse. Earlier in the day many of them gathered on the downtown mall and said they believe the rulings are a step in the right direction. 

"Shock, being thrilled, lots of tears, very excited," said Amy Sarah Marshall, network president of Charlottesville Pride. 

The Supreme Court issued two opinions Wednesday. The first one struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a federal law that does not recognize same-sex marriages.

"This is the Supreme Court actually saying it's unconstitutional to not recognize same-sex marriage - that's huge," Marshall said. 

In the second opinion, the court did not rule on whether a California state law prohibiting same-sex marriage was unconstitutional but left in play a lower court's decision that says it is.

"This is a big victory for same-sex couples. It is not a complete victory - it doesn't say every state has to recognize same-sex marriage - but it is a big victory," said Richard Schragger, a law professor at the University of Virginia. 

But not everyone was elated. Julia Weed said nothing would change for her. "Because I live in Virginia, nothing has changed for me and my wife and our family," she said. 

That is because Virginia law remains unaffected, according to a statement by the attorney general. Virginia does not recognize same-sex marriage, and that means federal law will not apply marital benefits - like social security, insurance and federal tax law - to same-sex couples in Virginia. 

Still, supporters are looking toward a positive future. 

"This is something that has been a subject in our mind and it is a validating day for us," said Brian McCrory, who supports same-sex marriage. 

Reverend Melanie Miller hopes to perform marriage ceremonies for all sexual orientations and looks forward to the day when she can. "Even though today is a huge victory, we still have an enormous amount of work to do," she said. 

NBC29 made many calls to a number of churches and organizations that historically oppose same-sex marriage. None would go on camera or provide their opinion on the rulings.

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