County native: Fall of DOMA means happier future

Published 12:00am Thursday, June 27, 2013

An openly gay Covington County native said Wednesday he thinks he’ll have a happier future, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage.

The high court struck down by a vote of 5-4 the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional, opening the door for gay couples to enjoy many of the same benefits that heterosexual couples do now.

“The ruling concerning DOMA marks a truly historic day for the US and particularly those in the LGBT community, such as myself,” Wing native Ethan Henley said. “Outside of the specific implications of this ruling, a new day has emerged for same-sex couples in general. Knowing that my future partner and I will no longer be discriminated against for the simple fact we are of the same sex if and when we choose to marry is refreshing.”

Henley is a recent graduate of the University of Alabama, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in commerce and business administration. He worked in Gov. Robert Bentley’s campaign in 2010, even convincing him to have a campaign event in Wing. At present, Henley is a graduate student at Auburn, where he is studying higher education administration.

“Love is the love and not any one person or government entity should have the right to say that that love is any less valid than that of a heterosexual couple by using some obscure law,” Henley said. “The discrimination I potentially face each day is enough on its own to handle. I am proud of the Supreme Court’s ruling today and I am proud that America is turning a corner towards equality.”

The fight might be over in the nation, but not in Alabama.

Wednesday’s Supreme Court ruling prompted Alabama’s first openly-gay legislator, Rep. Patricia Todd of Birmingham, to begin making plans to challenge the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage. Todd also said she will marry her partner in Massachusetts in September.

But House Speaker Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, quickly released a statement indicating he would continue to fight against gay marriage here.

“The Supreme Court rulings on the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 do not in any way impact the gay marriage prohibition that Alabama voters overwhelmingly approved in 2006,” Hubbard said in a statement. “As long as I am speaker of the House, I will continue working to ensure that the laws on our books reflect the conservative principles and moral beliefs that the majority of Alabamians embrace.”

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