"When I was seven years old my mother told me that sooner or later the United States was going to have to recognize gay marriage. I am 78 now. I have been crying and laughing all morning."
Ginger Olsen has been with her partner Diana Livingston for 22 years. They married in the State of California last year. This morning the Supreme Court officially ruled that states cannot ban gay marriage, meaning that the couple's partnership must be legally recognized across the United States. Olsen describes herself as "walking about three feet off the ground." She says that many people asked them why they decided to have a legal ceremony after being together for so long.
"It was the fact that we could. We felt that it was necessary to underline that the law says we can. The funny part is that we felt totally different after we got married, and I’ve heard that from lots of lots of gay couples," says Olsen. "We did not expect to feel differently, but with the very act of marriage, we became kinder to each other, we felt relaxed. As far as touching us personally, what it really means is I don’t have to make a big deal out of us anymore. We’re equal."
The court decision has some practical implications for local couples as well. Todd Larsen, a local business owner and member of Queer Humboldt, says that in the past he and his husband have been nervous about traveling to one of the 14 states where their marriage was not recognized. If one of them had been hospitalized, the other may not have been admitted. Married couples who relocate for work or other reasons can be assured that their legal status will be upheld no matter where they settle.