Suffolk reacts to marriage ruling

Published 8:52 pm Friday, June 26, 2015

Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal in Virginia – which it decided in October – gay couples shopping for gowns and tuxedos to get married in has become more common at Suffolk bridal boutique Maya Couture on Main, according to an employee.

“I’ve recently had a lot more same-sex couples,” 31-year-old Sarah McMahan said.

And she’s totally OK with that.

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“It’s just as special as (for) anybody else,” McMahan said of the marriage ceremony for gays.

Making history on Friday with a 5-4 decision, Supreme Court justices ruled that no state can ban same-sex marriage, legalizing the unions in 13 states where bans were in place.

“I think it’s wonderful,” added McMahan. “I think it’s a long time coming. I think (marriage) is a right for everyone.”

Elsewhere in Suffolk, opinions were divided on the matter.

“I go back to the Bible, man,” said Gene Evans, 80, who also happened to be out and about in downtown Suffolk after the news broke.

Evans said he doesn’t believe in same-sex marriage and isn’t happy about what the highest court in the land has finally decided.

“Then, you have to say, ‘To each his own,’” Evans added, philosophically. “But I’m a religious person.”

Jackie Meadors, 35, is originally from Vermont, the first state to legislate in favor of same-sex marriage, in 2009.

“I think it’s great,” she said of the nationwide impact of Friday’s decision.

Mary Dudley, 48, said she is against same-sex marriage, because she is a Christian. “We are one nation under God,” she said, “and we can’t be ‘under God’ if we don’t follow the word of god — a man and a woman.”

Oulaniece Saunders, 49, said she personally doesn’t believe in same-sex marriage. “(But) I don’t condemn any person for who they are.”

“I just don’t condone it myself because that’s not my lifestyle,” she said.

Gene Harrell, 74, said he thinks same-sex marriage is wrong biblically, but he doesn’t have an argument with the Supreme Court ruling.

“It’s just one of those things we have to deal with in life,” he said.

“Many people have different opinions about different things. I just don’t feel like it’s something Christians stand for.”

Harrell thinks the decision will have a global impact because, he said, “we are supposed to be a top nation in this world, and the things that we stand for affect the conditions worldwide.”

Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared the ruling a profound moment in history, adding, “I believe Virginia must be open and welcoming to everyone, and there is no room in our commonwealth for putting up walls that separate individuals from that right based on whom they love.”

Presidential candidate Rick Santorum issued an early statement on the ruling. He said five unelected judges “have redefined the foundational unit that binds together our society.”

“As president, I will be committed to using the bully pulpit of the White House to lead a national discussion on the importance to our economy and our culture of mothers and fathers entering into healthy marriages so that every child is given their birthright — to be raised by their mother and father in a stable, loving home,” he stated.