Locals Weigh in on Gay Rights in D.C.

 

ATHENS: Abby Johnson

 

This week promises to be a monumental one for gay and lesbian communities across the country as the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments in two separate cases concerning gay rights.

Proposition 8, the bill that banned gay marriage in California, is bringing huge groups of supporters and opposition to our nation’s capital.  Equally controversial and opposed/ supported is DOMA, or the Defense of Marriage Act, which legally states marriage is between one man and one woman.  Each of the two pieces of legislature will be considered this week in two separate cases.

And here in Athens I found that a lot of the Lesbian, Gay, Bi- sexual, and Transgender population are optimistic and truly excited about what could happen in D.C. over the next couple of days with Proposition 8 and DOMA.

Charles Hicks is one such active supporter of gay rights and a former intern for the well known LGBT magazine, The Advocate.  He believes the issue of gay rights is no longer a matter of if, but when.

“It’s a strong statement for the Supreme Court to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act,” Hicks explained.  “I think that it’s inevitable at this point.”

And today when I was searching for opposition to these issues, I actually found support where I didn’t expect it.

Andy Cooke, the Campus Ministries Director at the Presbyterian Center here in Athens, had this to offer on the issues.

“Personally, I think if a gay person wants to marry another gay person, or a lesbian person with another lesbian person, then they should be able to do that if the church is okay with it,” Cooke explained.

Andy’s position is different from what many people have come to expect from the Christian church. For Andy, he believes it’s an issue of human rights and not an issue of policy.

“I think the church has the responsibility to look after people who are oppressed,” Cooke offered.  “Many gay, lesbian, bi- sexual, and transgender people are oppressed and mistreated in this world.”

Regardless of what happens this week in D.C., there’s potential for a giant step to be taken for human rights.

“Today has just been electric knowing that tomorrow the highest judiciary branch in the nation, and arguably the world, is going to hear a case that is about my freedom,” Hicks says.

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