SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states is being celebrated across the country, as well as right here in western Massachusetts. A small crowd gathered on the steps of Springfield City Hall Friday for a brief lunchtime rally to cheer the court decision, and recognize just how far the LGBT community has come.
Nelson Roman of Holyoke, President and Founder of the Imperial Court of Western Massachusetts (a fundraising organization that raises money for AIDS, breast cancer and LGBT causes), told 22News that he was at his computer desk crying tears of joy as the decision came in Friday morning. He said that the decision is a uniting moment for all Americans.
“Literally this changed the face of America. In literally a 5-4 split, we are no longer red or blue, we are a rainbow United States of America,” Roman said.
Ronna Lytle of the LGBT Center of Springfield is getting married soon, and she says she is happy that the freedom that has been available to same-sex couples in Massachusetts for 11 years, is now available from coast to coast. “I’m completely excited, ecstatic, very happy. As someone that is getting married this year, I am very happy that now everyone can get married in every state in the country,” Lytle said.
People attending the rally told 22News that the cause of LGBT rights does not end with marriage equality. Workplace discrimination, housing discrimination, high suicide rates, rights of transgender individuals, and racial issues must remain high priorities. “While this is a celebratory moment, this is not the end,” former Springfield City Councilor Amaad Rivera said. “For so many people, they can get fired or kicked out of their homes for being LGBT in the majority of this country.”
Only 19 states plus the District of Columbia have laws banning workplace discrimination against LGBT people, with an additional three states banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, but not gender identity.