Court decision divides opinion on gay marriage

Published 10:11 pm Friday, June 28, 2013

Wednesday’s twin landmark Supreme Court decisions, striking down a federal law blocking recognition of gay marriage and allowing the practice to resume in California, has provoked strong opinions in Suffolk.

During a survey in Harbour View Friday, only five out of 12 people would put their thoughts on the record. Only one or two were unaware of the rulings.

“I think it was a great decision. I’m glad that they made it. I’m sorry it was as close as it was, but I’ll take it like it is,” said Anne Graham, 65, reading a novel at a table outside Starbucks.

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She was hopeful the decisions would lead to a “fairer” society, and said that states banning gay marriage need to sit up and take notice, including Virginia.

“The way the tide is turning, I feel — if given time — things will progress,” she said. “I’m very disappointed in Virginia. … With all the wisdom and great leaders here, I’m very disappointed — on this issue and many other issues.”

Ardonia Howard, 50, had a different take, saying gay couples should have the same right to federal benefits as straight couples, as the court’s decision on the Defense of Marriage Act allows, but not to the Christian concept of marriage.

“I think Virginia should hold its ground,” she said. “Same-sex marriage should not be allowed. God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.

But William Alston, 24, said, “Everybody should be equal; I don’t have a problem with it.”

Alston likened gays’ struggle for equal rights to African-Americans’ struggle against slavery and discrimination. “They just need to speed it up a little,” he concluded.

Kelvin Demps, 50, was another who says marriage is between a man and a woman. “That’s just from my religious beliefs,” he said.

Demps said a lot of decisions by the Supreme Court and governments are disappointing, adding, “That’s why I put my trust in God.”

“It’s pretty clear what it says in the Bible, that marriage is between a man and a woman. But we don’t have control over that, the politicians tend to do what they want to do, regardless of what the people think.”

Describing himself as a Southern Baptist, Paul Barkley, 66, was against gay marriage, and said state law precluding it “should stay as it’s written.”

“Men shouldn’t be marrying men, and women shouldn’t be marrying women,” he said. That’s just the way I was brought up.”