Gay rights applauded PDF Print E-mail
Written by ALEX ASPACHER Sentinel Staff Writer   
Thursday, 27 June 2013 10:07
Tobias Spears, director of the LGBT Resource Center at BGSU, assistant director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
Though Wednesday’s Supreme Court decisions may not have an immediate policy impact in Ohio, the two rulings on marriage equality could eventually spur change here.
The court's holdings, which result in recognition of same-sex marriage in California and by the federal government, are an "inspiration" for those continuing the fight for civil rights, said Tobias Spears, assistant director of Bowling Green State University's Office of Multicultural Affairs.
"I think that it really speaks to a cultural shift that's happening in the United States, a shift that's about being more inclusive and allowing people the autonomy to make decisions themselves," said Spears, who also directs the LGBT Resource Center on campus as a "safe haven" for those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.
While many were optimistic about the court ruling in favor of marriage equality, Spears said many activists are now left wondering what's next, as Ohio still recognizes marriages as being between a man and a woman.
"As a gay man, marriage allows me to think about my relationship as equal to someone who's straight," Spears said.
"It comes with a certain way that you understand your relationship, and a certain recognition of your relationship as legitimate. It helps us think about our community as the same as anybody else's, and that matters."
Local gay activist Kay Chapman was "ecstatic" at the news.
"It's such a huge, historic moment. It's just so huge," she said.
"It's certainly a big, huge step in the right direction. It makes marriage more meaningful for gay people now. It's not something that I thought I would see in my lifetime. It almost leaves me speechless."
State Representative Tim Brown, R-Bowling Green, also spoke positively regarding the rulings.
"I've long held the belief for equal treatment under the law for all citizens," he said in an interview this morning. "This moves us in that direction."
Brown's support of the rulings also appeared on his Twitter account Wednesday morning.
Spiritual leaders expressed a mixture of opposition to the rulings as well as the concession that change may soon be inevitable.
Bishop Leonard P. Blair, of the Catholic Diocese of Toledo, called the decisions "deeply disappointing."
"Accepting homosexual relationships as 'marriage' has the inevitable effect of weakening people's understanding and commitment to what marriage really is," Blair stated. "The state and its laws do not create marriage, but only regulate and promote it for the sake of the human flourishing that marriage provides. We will continue to be at the forefront in upholding marriage as a union of one man and one woman that is marked by permanence, fidelity, procreation and family."
Henry Seibert, intentional interim pastor of St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Bowling Green, said although he's not legally permitted to marry gay couples in Ohio, he supports civil unions and may have to "readdress" the issue if legal changes come.
"I guess I'm OK with (the rulings)," he said. "If we're serious about equality, then I guess we have to really get serious about equal rights for gay couples as well as heterosexual couples."
Last Updated on Thursday, 27 June 2013 10:24

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