Lynchburg, VA - Wednesday marked a historic day for civil rights in U.S. The Supreme Court ruling that part of the defense of marriage act is unconstitutional. Supporters of gay rights celebrated nationwide Wednesday night, including locally.
Marilynn Mattox has lived with her partner for more than a decade. They have a family together, children and grandchildren. In her eyes, their marriage has been legitimate from the start.
But Wednesday certainly was the reassurance she had been looking for.
Mattox let out a deep exhale when she saw the headlines strewn across the national news websites.
"I thought Wow, there's hope for legal marriage in my lifetime" she said.
She and her partner Abby were married more than a decade ago. Together they've started a life in Lynchburg, where Mattox is the Minister of a non-denominational church.
"Jesus taught love and we can love one another" she said.
Throughout her ministry she's performed multiple marriage ceremonies for gay couples. And while now, following a historic supreme court ruling, she's found new hope that those ceremonies will become legally recognized.
But, she still sees one major obstacle in the way.
"When I look at Virginia, yeah I wanted to run, I wanted to move to Canada when they legalized it, and I thought, but that's not home. This is home" said Mattox.
Virginia is among 37 other states that still does not recognize same sex marriage.
It's a fact that Mattox struggles with every day.
"I want to stay home; I want to live at home. I don't want to be tolerated; I want to be accepted for who I am" she said.
And Mattox says who she is, cannot and is not defined by her sexuality, "I am a whole, loving, compassionate being. Loving and worthy of love" she said.
And while the rulings were a start, Mattox has high hopes for the future. That one day she can be legally married here, at home.
"You know, it's going to happen, it's going to happen" said Mattox.
Mattox's Congressman, Republican Bob Goodlatte in a statement regarding the Supreme Court ruling said, "Today's decision is certainly a setback for the traditional values that make up the backbone of our country."
Still Mattox is hopeful she'll see legal same sex marriage in Virginia during her lifetime.