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UCSB Graduate Students React to Supreme Court’s Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

In a landmark 5-4 decision on Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry in all 50 states. Reactions ranged from anger and disappointment to pride and jubilation. Gay rights supporters including President Barack Obama took to social media, using the hashtag #LoveWins.

The GradPost interviewed a few graduate students to get their reactions to this historic civil rights ruling. They told us that while they were pleased with the decision, they realized that it is but one step in an ongoing process for equality.

Timothy Irvine, MA candidate, global studies; UCSB GSA vice president, committees and planning, 2015-16

“As a human being, a queer individual, and an activist, my first reaction to the SCOTUS decision is a blend of happiness, anger, and relief. I am happy for all of the individuals who have waited so long for this moment, and for the joy of love to be out in the light of day with full legal protections. I am also angry at the fact that this process has taken so long, cost so many lives, and must still survive a conservative backlash that continues to dehumanize and threaten violence against our communities.

Irvine
Timothy Irvine

“The most fitting feeling, however, I would say is relief. I am relieved that this landmark, high-level decision has finally been made. Every individual has the fundamental right to have their consensual, adult, loving relationship recognized by society's institutions. It is a huge relief for this to finally be recognized by the highest body of the judiciary in the USA, and it will set an example for other states and bodies to follow around the globe. The legal foundation for future civil rights victories is now clearly, finally laid.

“However, as a person of relative privilege, and as someone active in local UCSB and statewide UC politics, I have a responsibility to point out that the legal right to marry is only one narrow victory that will benefit the LGBTQ community in disproportionate ways. Despite achieving a symbolically, politically, and actually important victory, this legal change alone will not shift the cultural and social practices of homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, and/or racism that perpetuates violence, regardless of what the law says. In my opinion, ending persistent extra-legal violence must be prioritized as we move forward and capitalize on this political win.

“Despite shifting legal structures that previously supported oppression and violence, we must continue to organize to change the hearts and minds of those who would actively inflict pain on our community members, or those who would passively allow it to happen without protest.

Galicia
Mario Galicia Jr.

“In short, the LGBTQ community and its allies must not be satisfied with just achieving the legal right to marry, even if we deserve to be proud of all of the very hard work that went into this important victory. Marriage is just the beginning. There is so much left to do.”

Mario Galicia Jr., doctoral candidate, education

“I'm ecstatic that the SCOTUS has ruled in favor of marriage equality. I believe it is the right choice for our country moving forward. As we work on all of our civil rights struggles, the legal rights to all must be ensured. This is a step in the right direction.”

Melissa Barthelemy, history Ph.D. student

Barthelemy
Melissa Barthelemy, left, and wife Julia Diane Larson.

"My wife Julia Diane Larson (UCSB Library staff member) and I have been married for over six years because we were able to rush to the altar a week before Proposition 8 passed in California. Being married has personally (and economically) meant so much to us, that I am thrilled this right is being extended throughout the nation. Everyone deserves to live a life filled with dignity and love. As we celebrate this crucial milestone let us not forget how much other work is still left to be done to ensure the basic human rights of others. Solidarity and compassion build community."

Alex Kulick, sociology MA/Ph.D. student; graduate assistant, Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity

Alex Kulick
Alex Kulick

“For me personally, living in California and being 23 and not in a committed relationship, it’s not a huge moment for me on a personal level. But I think definitely being able to recognize the impact it has on the larger community is really important to me, especially those folks who live in states where, without this type of federal ruling, it would have taken much longer or maybe never have happened. ...

“The LGBT community has been talking a lot recently about what are the next steps after marriage, what are the issues that we want to focus on. There’s still a lot to do in terms of health care, employment, housing. And so I think it’s really exciting to have this step in the process of continuing to work toward equality. I think it’s definitely a big step, especially with the amount of media coverage around this and the amount of conversation that’s happening is helpful to get the energy, to continue the energy going toward some of those other issues as well.”

— Patricia Marroquin is the communications director for the UCSB Graduate Division.

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