Roanoke Woman: Partner And I Want To Be Seen As Any Normal Couple
Roanoke, VA - Thursday was supposed to be the first day to apply for a same-sex marriage license, but gay couples across the state and in southwest Virginia will have to wait to legally wed.
Carla Spenser planned to apply for her marriage license.
"[My partner and I] just want to be just like Sue and Bob, just normal people," said Spenser.
That normalcy sits off to the side for now for Spenser and her spouse Adrienne Kuder. Spenser says she already had her real wedding, ceremony and all.
But walking up to the Roanoke courthouse means one step closer for legal rights.
"Without a power of attorney, I have no right to know about Adrienne's medical business or her know about mine," said Spenser.
The U.S. Supreme Court granted a request made by a North Virginia county clerk, blocking any same-sex marriage from being recognized for now. This decision comes a month after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit struck down the state's ban, approved by voters in 2006.
Rev. Joe Cobb of the Metropolitan Community Church of the Blue Ridge says he "just sunk" after learning about the decision on Twitter. Cobb planned to walk into the Roanoke Courthouse with four couples on Thursday if the decision was upheld. Among those, Spenser and Kuder.
But when they'll legally sign a marriage license is still a mystery. There wasn't an explanation by the country's highest court nor a timeline when or if it will take up the contentious ruling.
"To deny two people who have fallen in love and honor their commitment in a marriage ceremony, to deny them that opportunity, because they happen to be of the same gender, I think is morally and ethically wrong," said Cobb.
Spenser says she'll wait for her time knowing it may make a number of people upset if she can wed.
"I know that there's people that vehemently disagree and I respect that and I don't want to tell them how to feel. So I respect that," said Spenser. "But I ask that they respect our feelings and were not doing anything to hurt them.
Many people on the other side say marriage should be between a man and a woman.
Richard Mast, a litigation attorney with Liberty Counsel, told ABC 13 News earlier this year he believes the ban is constitutional. Also, Alliance Defending Freedom, which filed the appeal to put a hold on the decision for the Prince William County clerk of court, released a statement.
"The last word on the marriage lawsuits in America rests with the U.S Supreme Court," wrote senior counsel Byron Babione. "It has already said that lower-court rulings on state marriage laws should be placed on hold for now. The 4th Circuit was wrong to ignore that and deny Virginians an orderly, dignified and fair resolution to the question of whether they will remain free to preserve marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
"Alliance Defending Freedom is asking Chief Justice [John] Roberts to do what the high court has done before and stop this ruling from going into effect before the litigation reaches its end."
Cobb says he's still going outside the Roanoke courthouse Thursday morning to honor what he calls another step for justice.