FGCU RSOs react to Marriage Equality ruling
The 26th of June 2015 will forever be remembered as the day that marked the beginning of a new United States — the day same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide.
The Supreme Court declared that it was unconstitutional for states to prohibit same-sex marriage. Five out of the nine justices voted in favor, making it legal for gays and lesbians to marry on all 3,794, 083 square miles of American territory. Before this ruling, only 37 states and D.C. allowed same-sex couples to marry.
Soon after the news broke, Nadine Smith, the CEO of Equality Florida, released a statement regarding the Supreme Court’s decision.
“Today’s victory is a sign of what’s right in America — that all of us matter, that all of us deserve the same freedoms and legal protections,” she said.
Doug Ball, a spokesman for Equality Florida, has been with his husband, Frank Dowd, for 33 years. Dowd and Ball married seven years ago in Toronto.
“At the time, you could only be married in Massachusetts or go out of the country. That’s how fast things have changed in seven years,” Ball said.
Despite the Supreme Court ruling, Ball believes Equality Florida’s work is not done just yet.
“I think Equality Florida will move on to other ideas — like the idea that people can be fired from their job for being LGBT,” Ball said. “We’re still not part of the privileged group of people who are entirely protected.”
Adam Alexander, the pastor of Ignite, a Christian RSO at Florida Gulf Coast University, believes the mission of the college ministry will remain the same regardless of what the government may have passed.
“People often think that if you are a Christian you have to hate LGBT people, and that is simply not true,” he said. “We strive to love people regardless of how they choose to go about who they are. However, we cannot condone anything that is not consistent with God’s word and God’s character.”
Alexander Britton, the vice president of the Catholic Student Organization at FGCU, said the organization would stand by the diocese and Pope Francis.
“For Catholics, marriage has not changed,” Britton said.
In response to the Supreme Court’s decision, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Venice in Florida released this statement: “The decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to grant that marriage is allowed between people of the same sex comes as no surprise… Nothing the court says can change what marriage truly is and the Church will continue to promote and defend it.”
One of the two co-presidents of the Gay Straight Alliance at FGCU, Kayla Blackmon, expressed her delight when she found out.
“It’s an enormous day in history for the LGBTQIA+ community,” Blackmon said. “I couldn’t be happier.”
Blackmon hopes the legalization of same-sex marriage will have a positive effect on campus.
“My hopes are that this event will create a desire for people to want to get involved and to encourage people to become activists,” Blackmon said.
Blackmon also emphasized the GSA’s need to continue fighting for equality.
“It’s important to give people a place to feel welcome and safe on campus,” she said. “And by showing our support on campus, we can hopefully provide people with a place to go.”
Below video just one of many organizations showing their support for the decision.