Locals React to Supreme Court Ruling on Same-Sex Marriage

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COLUMBIA - Mid-Missouri residents had mixed reaction Wednesday to the U.S. Supreme Court vote in two separate decisions that paved the way for gay rights in the country. Justices denied part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that denied hundreds of federal benefits to same-sex couples and cleared the way for gays and lesbians to once again marry in California.

Locals in mid-Missouri are reacting both positively and negatively to the rulings. One Fayette resident said he is excited about the ruling.

"Today is certainly a win," Joe Jefferies said. "It's a huge step. It shows that gay marriage is more and more acceptable. It's something that's really been progressing."

Although Jefferies counts the rulings as a win, he also said he desires to see more progress in the future.

"It's a big step forward in history for us obviously as a nation," Joe Jefferies said. "I wish it was a bit more sweeping in parts of it. I would love to see it be nationwide, state-by-state, recognized everywhere."

Other local groups said these decisions do not end the marriage debate. John Yeats, the executive director of the Missouri Baptist Convention, said that instead of "casting rocks" at the Supreme Court or expressing discontent with the advancement of gay rights, Christians should stand by the scripture and search their own souls.

"The court's decisions do not surprise us, but they disappoint us for at least two reasons," said Yeats in a statement to KOMU 8 News. "First, the branches of our federal government continue to chisel away states' rights to carry out the will of their people. Second, and more disturbing, they reflect the fact that a growing number of Americans increasingly embrace behaviors that violate natural law and biblical truth. The Supreme Court had the opportunity to uphold marriage and return authority for marriage policy to citizens and their elected officials but chose instead to legislate from the bench."

Some posts on KOMU 8's Facebook Page also shows some locals believe that regardless of religion, religious beliefs should be set aside and human rights should be respected. 

One person posting as Kirsten Johnsen, wrote, "I'm a Christian, and one of my best friends is gay. I love my best friend, and God. God will judge him, but I have no right to. I think everyone should have equal rights, and EVERYONE should respect one another, no matter what, because in the end, we ALL answer to God. We all sin differently, some of us lie, cheat, steal, worry, and some of us are gay. It is NOT up to us to judge others."

Regardless of supporting the Supreme Court's decision or not, Jefferies said he believes these rulings mark something everyone can relate to. 

"It's a good day for love," Jefferies said. "Everybody is saying it's a great day for gays, it's a great day for this, but it's also a great day for love. Love has moved forward today. That's important to me, that's important to everybody else that is a part of this movement that's going on; love and kindness for your fellow man regardless of what you believe."

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