HISTORY MADE: Pike County reacts to Supreme Court rulings

Published 4:00 am Saturday, June 27, 2015

“Today is a day I thought I would never see.”

That’s what Zari Williams said on Friday, hours after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriages were legal throughout the country.

“I know how upset this may make people, but I also know that the people of the LGBT community are no longer being silenced and it’s a beautiful thing,” said Williams, a Troy resident.

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Williams said while she and her partner have no intentions of getting married anytime soon, she is thankful to have that opportunity now, even if the Pike County Probate Judge won’t issue marriage licenses locally.

“He has a right to disagree and act accordingly, but it will not stop gay people from moving to other places to get married,” Williams said. “Overall, I’m happy, and today is a day I never thought I would see.”

Nicole Copeland is happy, too. A longtime supporter of equal rights who went so far as to become ordained earlier this year so she could officiate marriages for same-sex couples, Copeland said the decision is long overdue. “We have enough hate in this world so if two consenting adults want to express live by getting marriage I think it is beautiful,” Copeland said. “I am glad the Supreme Court ruled the way they did because to deny the licenses was discrimination, and now we can celebrate love.”

The Rev. Den Irwin of St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church said he was not surprised by the ruling, but was disappointed. And he urged families to more deeply root their family and homes in the love of God.

“The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision on marriage is not a surprise,” Irwin said. “The surprise will come as ordinary people begin to experience, firsthand and painfully, the impact of today’s action on everything they thought they knew about marriage, family life, our laws and our social institutions. The mistakes of the court change nothing about the nature of men and women, and the truth of God’s Word. The task now for believers is to form our own families even more deeply in the love of God, and to rebuild a healthy marriage culture, one marriage at a time, from the debris of today’s decision.”

Troy city councilwoman Dejerelyn Henderson said Friday was a great day for the United States “because people are no longer being discriminated against because of their sexual orientation,” Henderson said. “This is something that I’ve followed, because I have friends and relatives who are in same-sex relationships. I’ve just always felt like since they love each other they should have the same rights and privileges as the same people who love each other. … When you don’t allow people, regardless of their sexual preference, to get married then it’s discrimination. I’m happy that people are no longer being discriminated against.”

Jana Wieser, president of the Spectrum organization at Troy University, said while she was thrilled with the decision, she knows there is still a long way to go before equal rights are commonplace for the LGBT community.

“I think it’s just a start. There are tons more things that we have to pay attention to like LGBT discrimination and more help for youth,” Wieser said. “I think the certificate on paper is great, but it’s just a start.”