Locals React To Gay Rights Ruling [SLIDE SHOW]

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People from across the Big Bend area are talking about the decision made by the US Supreme Court.

Watch the videos above to see what supporters and detractors have to say about the decision.

What are your thoughts? Leave us a comment below.

By: Andy Alcock
June 26, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - Gay couples now enjoy equal protection under federal law.

The Supreme Court decision to strike down a key provision of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act has some people applauding while others are concerned.

Jim VanRiper used to be married to a woman for 11 years and has two children.

He recently had a civil union in Hawaii with his partner Miles.

The couple has been together 13 years.

83 year old Edie Windsor was with her partner 40 years.

When she had to pay some $363,000 in estate taxes when her partner died she wouldn't have paid if she was married, Windsor went to the Supreme Court and won.

VanRiper says it's basic fairness.

"If something happened to me, he'd be paying all the taxes on my estate," said VanRiper. "And yet something happened to you, your wife probably wouldn't," he said.

"It's in effect making a step towards treating same sex marriages in effect like any other marriage," said Father Michael Petty of St. Peter's Anglican Church.

Father Petty says his church views marriage as a sacrament between a man and woman for the purpose of having children.

He says a move away from that view has created problems like a high divorce and out of wedlock birth rate.

"It's no coincidence that the vast majority of children who are in poverty are in single parent families," said Father Petty.

"There's a whole lot of religions in this country that really are supportive of same sex couples and same sex marriages," said VanRiper.

While VanRiper and Father Petty disagree about the Supreme Court's ruling, they agree about gay marriage's future in America.

"It's going to happen, it's just a matter of when," said VanRiper.

"I think it's probably, you know a couple years away," said Father Petty.

VanRiper is a board member of the gay rights group "Equality Florida".

He says one goal of the 165,000 member group is to overturn a constitutional ban on same sex marriage in Florida.

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