Same-sex marriage, ‘that’s what it means to be an American’

A recently-engaged gay couple celebrates a historic ruling in favor of same-sex marriage as the law of the land in the U.S. (WDTN, Beairshelle Edmé)

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Mike Embree and John Fass did not come running to the doors of the Montgomery County courthouse on Friday, despite a newfound right to legally marry each other and receive a marriage license.

The couple, engaged three weeks ago during the Dayton Pride Festival celebrations, say they did not expect to ever get to see the day where same-sex marriage would be the law of the land.

Yet Friday, the Supreme Court ruled just that. In a vote of 5-4, the justices decided that all 50 states, including Ohio which banned this type of union and was one of six states who were the defendants in the United States v. Windsor case, must recognize Embree’s and Fass’ marriage.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion for the court,”It demeans gays and lesbians for the State to lock them out of a central institution of the nation’s society.”

Weeks after their engagement, this gay couple can begin planning towards this “central institution.”

“It means that our relationship is not just sacred between the two of us, but now it’s legally recognized the way that it should be and the way it should always have to be, and it means that we matter,” Faas said, while sitting side-by-side with his fianceé

Through the last 9 years, this couple says they’ve been through it all, both together and apart.

In nearly a decade, the two have come out to family and friends and found their way to each other, choosing to make a major commitment to each other with marriage.

“It’s amazing how you actually find somebody that is literally your other half,” 27-year-old Embree reflected.

And as the historic decision was announced, the two say they can’t imagine being with anyone else.

“You don’t realize how much that days like today actually matter until you do find that person that you want to spend with,” Embree said.

They’re happy for what they see as a step forward for love and equality. But they’re just as excited for what this means for them legally as a couple.

“I bought a house here in Dayton like eight years ago, nine years ago,” Faas, 33, explained. “I have a full-time position in professional theater here and this means now that we can be put on the same healthcare insurance plan. I can make sure that if something happens to me, Mike gets to stay in the house that we’ve all worked together on for so long.”

The home and the life they built all reflect the commitment they’ve made to each other. The glimmering sliver bands the newly engaged couple wear as serve as a symbol for life.

Their hope is that everyone can come to respect their love. And for those who are weary to embrace this ruling, the 33-year-old reminded them, “Society and life moves on and we all evolve and the people who keep trying to hold society back will eventually be forced of the wagon. And I think you can either join the parade or stand on the sidelines and watch it go by you.”

Embree and Faas plan to wed Fall, 2016 in Dayton.

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