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Jun 26, 2015 10:49 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Supreme Court Ruling Legalizes Gay Marriage; Bridgehampton Ceremony Was At Center Of Case

Scenes from David Glover and Anders Sjostedt recent Hamptons wedding. COURTESY ANDERS SJOSTEDT
Jun 30, 2015 5:01 PM

Wedding bells will be ringing across the land after a historic decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday legalized same-sex marriage in every state.

The 5-4 decision was based on a lawsuit, Obergefell v. Hodges, whose plaintiffs included a couple who were married in Bridgehampton in 2011.

Since the decision was announced Friday morning, locals have been vocalizing both support and distaste for the decision, which makes it illegal under the 14th Amendment for courthouses to deny a marriage license to a same-sex couple. The decision, which was announced Friday morning, also means that all states must recognize a marriage involving same-sex couples.

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family,” reads the Supreme Court decision written by Justice Anthony Kennedy. “In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.

“As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death,” the decision continues. “It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to finds its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The constitution grants them that right.”

Two of the plaintiffs were Thomas Kostura of Springs and his husband, Ijpe DeKoe. The pair were married on August 4, 2011—11 days after New York State recognized same-sex marriages through its Equality Act, and one day before Mr. DeKoe left for a tour of duty in Afghanistan with the U.S. Army Reserves—at the Incarnation Lutheran Church in Bridgehampton. After his return a year later, Mr. DeKoe was transferred to a military base in Tennessee, which, until Friday’s decision, did not recognize gay marriages. That meant hospitals were not obligated to release patient information if one of the two became sick, they could not claim each other on their health insurance, and there would be issues if they decided to adopt a child.

After considering their options, the couple decided to join a federal lawsuit with two other couples petitioning to have their marriages recognized—April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, and James Obergefell and John Arthur.

Justices Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan all approved the Supreme Court decision on Friday, while Justices John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito all dissented.

“It is pretty big,” Mr. Kostura said in a statement this week. “As much as you convince yourself that it will come out your way and it won’t be emotional, it is quite overwhelming. We want to thank everyone for being who they are and being honest and telling people, because that is what made this happen—everyone coming out to their families, that made being who they are an important thing and made it familiar to everyone, with the understanding that all relationships are valuable and all commitments are the same.”

The historic decision is not the first time the courts made a marriage equality declaration. Two years ago, the court issued a decision that said it was illegal for people in California to block gay marriages, but did not then touch on whether gay marriage was a constitutional right.

The Supreme Court had previously decided another case, considered a key step along the path, that involved a local woman—Tuckahoe resident Edie Windsor. That decision, on July 18, 2013, said that a portion of the federal Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional, and that committed same-sex couples who were legally married in their own state could receive certain federal protections.

In a statement this week from the Services and Advocacy for Gay and Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender Elders group, also known as SAGE, Ms. Windsor—who frequently works with the group—said she was thrilled with Friday’s decision. “This is another huge step toward total equality for all of us,” she said. “Every step has increased our self-esteem, and, with that, more of us come out, and we are seen by our families, our friends, our colleagues, our own children.”

The decision is making positive waves throughout the East End, especially for David Glover and Anders Sjostedt, who moved to East Quogue full time two years ago. They were married at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in East Hampton on June 20, less than a week before the Supreme Court decision was announced.

The couple, who own their own hair care company, called Martinsson King, said they were thrilled to hear about the decision so close to their wedding day, and that it made it all the more special.

“It was the icing on the wedding cake,” Mr. Glover said this week.

“Of course it was huge and a great feeling,” Mr. Sjostedt added. “We had already felt we had the perfect weekend, but it was so powerful.”

And not only local gay couples are excited about the news.

State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. said he was thrilled with the determination, saying that he has been a longtime advocate for gay and lesbian rights in New York.

“I applaud the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges,” he said in a statement. “The court reaffirmed that marriage is a fundamental right under the U.S. Constitution and stayed true to the creed of this nation that all persons are equal under the law expressed in the 14th Amendment. By extending the right to marry regardless of sexual orientation, the court has made our nation a more perfect union.”

Not everyone is as thrilled by the decision.

U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin would not comment about his view of gay marriage, but said he felt the decision to allow same-sex marriage should not have been heard by the Supreme Court at all, because it is, rather, a local issue.

“I have always believed that this was an issue to be debated and decided at the state level,” Mr. Zeldin said. “Some states want to legalize same-sex marriage. Others don’t.”

The Southampton Full Gospel Church made its disagreement with the decision known with a Leviticus Bible quote about homosexual relationships being “an abomination” on its sign on County Road 39. The church’s pastor, the Reverend Donald Havrilla, who has been vocal in his opposition to same-sex marriage, did not return calls for comment.

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FIGHT BACK: Donald Trump kicks UNIVISION staff off his Miami golf course...

Donald Trump sent a letter to Univision CEO and president Randy Falco on Friday informing him that "no Univision officer or representative" is allowed to use his Trump National Doral, the resort and golf club immediately adjacent to Univision offices in Miami,

Good for you Donald don't take there crap !!!
By 27dan (2465), Shinnecock Hills on Jun 26, 15 11:43 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By PoliticallyIncorrect (45), earth on Jun 27, 15 7:29 AM
Good. This is a civil matter, not an ecclesiastical one.
By Mr. Z (10551), North Sea on Jun 27, 15 10:00 PM
Your opinion and that of five lawyers is noted Z. Perhaps it is not your "truth" that prompted me to respond, but a matter of decorum.
By Mr. Snerdley (392), Southampton on Jun 28, 15 12:59 AM
Witnessing the gaiety on display over the weekend, I fear for the future of my grandchildren.
By loading... (547), quiogue on Jun 29, 15 8:08 PM