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"I Think This is a Tipping Point"

PHOTO: Virginia supporters of same-sex marriage celebrate DOMA decision at the U.S. Supreme Court.
PHOTO: Virginia supporters of same-sex marriage celebrate DOMA decision at the U.S. Supreme Court.
June 27, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. - On the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court, Diane Ullius and Rhonda Buckner, Arlington, Va., celebrated a landmark victory for same-sex couples. They have been together for 33 years. Even though their marriage is not legally recognized by the state of Virginia, they said the Supreme Court's decision Wednesday to strike down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act brings them closer to equal rights - and it will mean tangible benefits for them.

"We are now eligible for each other's survivor's social security benefits," Buckner explained, "and we can file joint taxes and have the thousand legal rights of citizenship that all other married couples get."

The DOMA decision does not change Virginia's 2006 ban on same-sex marriage, but Ullius and Buckner said they will keep working to overturn it.

More Virginians are getting involved in trying to legalize same-sex marriage in the state, Buckner added.

"This is a tipping point," she said. "We're going to work harder in Virginia because it's going to go faster."

Buckner, a member of the group Equality UUCA at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, noted that more clergy across the state are also taking up the issue.

Alison Burns, Public News Service - VA