Austin celebrates anniversary of Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage
Sunday marked the one year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide.
Last year, the LGBT community in Austin celebrated that landmark decision with an event at the Central Presbyterian Church and Sunday they did the same.
On June 26, 2015, The U.S. Supreme Court changed the lives of gay and lesbian couples nationwide when they announced couples could wed no matter what their sexual orientation.
“It was landmark in the sense that it established Constitutional protections, equal protection under the law for gay and lesbian Americans,” said the CEO of Equality Texas Chuck Smith.
“I remember exactly the day. I was surrounded by five straight women who were all actually more excited than me, but for me what it meant was that I was one step closer to normal,” said Liz Jambor who is in a same-sex relationship and attended Sunday’s event at the Central Presbyterian Church.
Liz Jambor got engaged to her girlfriend Jayne Larson three weeks ago.
“It's still a bit surreal, but it's very exciting that I get to marry her,” said Jambor.
After spending their whole lives waiting to gain the same rights as other Americans, they will soon get tie the knot legally in the State of Texas.
“I never, ever dreamed in my lifetime that we would be here in this place, that that would be a possibility for me,” said Larson.
One year ago same-sex couples in Austin lined up for marriage licenses from the Travis County Clerk’s office, many people wed at courthouses in the state and LGBT people everywhere celebrated their right to love and be loved.
“My religion is kindness. I grew up Methodist, but my religion is kindness. It's about spreading peace and love and that was why I came here today,” Larson said.
One year later the LGBT community in Austin celebrated that decision, but also on the minds of those at Central Presbyterian's Love Ignites event are the 49 victims that lost their lives when a shooter opened fire at a gay nightclub in Orlando just two weeks ago.
“Today should be all about celebration, but the reality is that celebration has to be tempered by the fact that many people are still grieving the loss of innocent lives in Orlando, people who lost their lives for no other reason than they were in a gay bar,” Smith said.
“It saddens me deeply that hatred can manifest itself in the killing of anyone regardless of what their reason is, whether it's religion or color or sexual orientation, it's sad, it's very sad,” said Larson.
From that terrible tragedy in Florida to the pews of Central Presbyterian Church in Austin, members of the LGBT community said they won't let hate win the fight and the message they want people to know remains the same.
“That people are just people and love is just love,” Jambor said.
Interestingly, there have been a couple of Supreme Court decisions supporting same-sex couples that fell on June 26.
In 2013, the High Court overturned the "Defense of Marriage Act" that defined marriage as only pertaining to the union of one man and one woman. And in 2003, justices declared a Texas law that made it a crime for same-sex couples to engage in intimate sexual conduct unconstitutional.