BVNW reacts: Supreme Court marriage ruling

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BVNW reacts: Supreme Court marriage ruling

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The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Friday that same-sex marriage is a guaranteed constitutional right after a 5-4 vote. BVNW students, teachers and parents react to the decision, discussing what it means to them and its impact on the community.

Sophomore Kira Flynn

kira

How did you first hear about the Supreme Court decision in favor of same-sex marriage?

I was at band camp, and then I woke up, and I get CNN notifications and there were a bunch of notifications, so I went on Twitter and there were a lot on my phone…so mainly from CNN.

What was your initial reaction?

It seemed like it was long overdue, but I was extremely happy.

Have you seen any negative responses?

I’m not going to mention names, but there’s a boy in my grade who was saying that it was all wrong, and another girl who is older, who was talking about how they should follow the bible, and not stuff directly towards people saying how that (ruling) shouldn’t have happened.

What is your message to those who are protesting the decision?

I would just say that they should think of themselves in another person’s shoes, or if it was a right that they wanted, then they’d feel pretty bad if a lot of people are against that.

How has the decision impacted you personally?

For me it means that when I’m older I can marry who I want, so I don’t have to go to a different state or anything like that to get married. It also means that not only the GSA and people in our community are standing up for LGBT people, but the government is too; that is a really good feeling, knowing that I have people on my side and everyone’s side.

How do you think the BVNW community in general has handled these issues in the past?

My friend group, we talk about this kind of stuff a lot, because not all of us are straight, so it’s kind of a big part of what we talk about. Outside of my friend group it’s not an everyday topic that people bring up; every once in a while you’ll hear someone say something homophobic, or you’ll hear someone say something really supportive, so there’s all different kinds of feedback that you would either love to hear or would hate to hear.

How do you think the decision will affect BVNW?

I do think that a lot more people will talk about – I would hope that they would since it’s a huge thing for our country. People in my position who want the rights that we deserve I think will talk about that a lot more. I think there might be more people who say negative things, too.

How do you think we as a school should respond to those that are not supportive of the decision?

It’s kind of like what I said about the people who are negative and how they should step into other peoples’ shoes, and in my opinion I don’t think saying anything rude back to them will help; but all you have to say is, whether it’s a religious thing or political point of view, they do have their right to have their own opinion … I have no negative opinion on religion, it’s just if that religion or political stance is going to other people, then they should just keep it to themselves, but as long as they aren’t hurting other people, they can have whatever view they want.

This is obviously a huge step for the LGBT community; what would you say is the next step or next hole to fill in this community?

I think one of the big things is trans rights and trans acceptance.” “That’s probably the biggest thing we should fix now, because transgender people are afraid to come out a lot of the time, so as long as this is happening, we should just keep this ball rolling we should try to gain more acceptance and more positive feedback from people so that way the people would feel more accepted.

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Linda Flynn – Kira’s mom

linda

How did you first hear about the Supreme Court decision in favor of same-sex marriage?

I kind of knew that it was imminent and that it was going to be probably sometime this week, but I found out when I went on facebook and all my friends were putting it on Facebook, so I knew the decision had been reached, so that was pretty exciting.

What was your initial reaction?

I knew they were considering it, but when they actually did it, I thought, ‘this is historic’ … I remember when President Kennedy died, my mother turned to me and said, ‘you’ll always remember where you were when this happened’… and I have the same feeling about this – you’ll always remember where you were when the Supreme Court legalized same -sex moment. and I think it’s one of those moments where you’ll always remember where you were when it happened … From an older person’s perspective, I’m not sure we expected it so soon. It’s amazing, it’s thrilling and it’s great.

How has the decision impacted you personally?

I have a sister-in-law who has been in a committed same-sex relationship for probably 30 years, and I wonder if they will actually get married now … they’re still deciding what to do. Now if Kira wants to marry a woman someday she’ll be able to do it – she won’t have to just live with somebody and pretend that they’re roommates.

What is it like for you to see this happen for Kira – to see this moment happen from her perspective?

She doesn’t really talk about marriage very much … but I think in terms of her future it gives her the same options that it would give her if she were straight.” “From her perspective I think it would be freeing and a relief, and also joyful; that’s how I feel about it.

Have you seen any negative responses?

I think I reposted something on Facebook about [Gov. Brownback] … he was having a problem yesterday … and then I think one of the judges said something, but mostly I think they’re coming from ultra-conservative type people.” They’re just going to have to get used to it, that’s all.

What would you say to those who are protesting the decision?

I think I would want to concentrate on this a vote for love – how could we be against committed and loving relationships? This isn’t about anything other than that…it’d about love and that’s all it is.

How do you think the BVNW community in general has handled these issues in the past?

We’ve only been at BVNW for one year; Kira came out on instagram and I think that anyone who followed her that had anything to say about it said something positive.” “I think for the most part there just needs to be acceptance … I haven’t really heard any homophobic stuff from the Blue Valley community.

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Senior Cooper Trusdale – student body president

cooper   

How did you first hear about the Supreme Court decision in favor of same-sex marriage?

It was from the Snapchat live story. I was just on [Snapchat]; I saw it and watched it.

What was your initial reaction?

I was kind of surprised – not because it happened – but because I didn’t even know the Supreme Court [case] was going on. I was happy for everybody who is gay and everybody who can marry in all the states.

Have you seen any negative responses?

Not yet, but I’m sure there will be people who do get mad. In my opinion, I think it’s stupid, because if you’re straight it’s not any of your business to get mad at somebody who is gay and wants to get married.

What is your message to those who are protesting the decision?

I would just say stay out of it; it’s not any of their business. If somebody wants to get married, I don’t understand why you have to get in between the people who want to get married, especially if it’s a family member. You just have to stay out of it and let them be happy.

How has the decision impacted you personally?

Personally, I don’t know anybody who I’m close with that’sgay. But personally, I think this is a day in history and someday my kids and grandkids will be reading this in history books. I can always think about this day and how it goes forward.

How do you think the BVNW community in general has handled these issues in the past?

I think they’ve been very supportive with people who are gay through the Gay-Straight Alliance, REbel and just being you. I think they’ve done very well and I think everybody in the school, even if you’re not part of the club, is accepting of if you’re gay or straight.

How do you think it will affect BVNW?

I think more people will be willing to come out of their shell if they are gay. I think they’ll be more comfortable as a person. I mean I think they may have previously thought they weren’t accepted and…I think [due to this decision] they will be really happy and more confident.

How do you think we as a school should respond to those that are not supportive of the decision?
I think they should just try to accept it. It’s not going to change so if you’re going to protest it, you’re not doing yourself any good and you’ll look idiotic in my opinion. If you don’t like it then keep it to yourself. Be nice to everyone no matter what their viewpoints in life are.

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Sarah Derks – Diversity Club sponsor, Gay-Straight Alliance sponsor

derks

How did you first hear about the Supreme Court decision in favor of same-sex marriage?

I got a few texts this morning. I’m in California currently, so I wasn’t even awake when everything happened, so when I woke up I saw all the text messages.

What was your initial reaction?

Obviously, it’s exciting to hear that as a nation we have leaders who fight on the side of everyone, if that makes sense – that they’re not going to take someone’s orientation or their color or their religion and hold it against them and not allow them to have the same equal rights as everyone else. It’s very exciting to know that I’m living in a time that’s becoming progressive – more so than we were 20 years ago or 30 years ago.

How has the decision impacted you personally?

Me, personally, probably not much. I was just talking to my sister; I’m excited for my friends. I have friends who have gone to Washington D.C. and have gone to Iowa and have gone to other states to get married because they couldn’t get married in Kansas and Missouri. When they came home, their marriages weren’t recognized in their home states–states that they pay taxes in, the states that they live in, and that’s just sad. I’m so excited for them now. They have kids together and they are not only married in the eyes of the state and the country but their kids can now be protected because their moms are married.

Have you seen any negative responses?

A little bit. Everyone is going to have negativity toward things they don’t understand. Ignorance is pretty prevalent when we don’t understand something or we take things out of context. I saw a tweet…[that said]…’I’m moving to Canada.’ We had the same response when George Bush was elected president. People just need to calm down and realize that this decision by the Supreme Court affects individuals who want to be committed to each other. If you don’t want to marry someone of the same sex, it doesn’t affect you. Move forward, there are bigger issues now. I’m excited for the gay community, the lesbian community. I’m excited for my friends and family who this affects. I think it is time now that we say ‘Alright, it’s done’ and we move forward. I’m excited for the high school students who are going to be able to grow up in a time when they’re not seen as someone different. That if they want to get married and have kids, they can do it without any sort of fear that their marriage isn’t recognized or that insurances won’t be recognized or [they will not have] life benefits. I think it is so exciting that [students] are growing up in a time when everything is equal. There is people that are going to hate all the time because they don’t know of any other way to respond. They fear things they don’t understand and they’re not willing to understand it and that’s bad. But it’s good to know there are at least five people in the Supreme Court that are fighting on the side of people who sometimes can’t fight for themselves.

How do you think the BVNW community in general has handled these issues in the past?

I’ve always been very proud of our school and our kids. They appear to be accepting and welcoming and that’s pretty cool. I’m not going to assume that everyone at Blue Valley Northwest is going to be excited about this decision. Because there are going to be some that aren’t and that’s just the world we live in. But that’s OK, it is okay to have an opinion that’s different. That’s the other thing that we need to as a community, as a country, recognize that there are people that are not always going to agree with you–and that’s okay. That doesn’t mean that we should hate them, that doesn’t mean that they’re always wrong, that doesn’t mean you’re always right. I think at Northwest in general, the four years that I’ve been there, I’ve seen a lot of love and a lot of support given to the LGBTQ community. I think that those who don’t understand it or who don’t like it are really cool about just living their own life and that’s even better is to know that there are people like, ‘okay, I don’t agree with you but I’m going to do my own thing.’ That’s the world we need to be living in–accepting the fact that not everyone agrees.

How do you think the decision will continue to affect BVNW?

I think we are at a very important time – how do we handle this, how do we move forward, how do we become more accepting. I had the opportunity to speak to the staff last semester about the transgender community and gender. [Students] are coming into high school with so much knowledge, so much more than we had growing up. You have the ability to really process all that and take it to the next level and to accept everybody or not accept everybody -it just depends on your own personal interpretation of things. I think how we come back to school, how Gay-Straight Alliance handles this, how Diversity Council handles this. But I think in general I don’t think it should be that big of a deal. Please don’t make light of it, it’s a big deal but I think this should be something where we’re excited and now we move forward. We educate on why this is important. I think the government teachers are going to have an amazing time teaching about this because it’s so pivotal in the history of our country. Hopefully, it will increase dialogue but I also know that for high school kids, a lot of times unless it’s personally affecting them on a personal level like if [they] have parents that are gay or lesbian, it’s not something they take too much to heart. I’m excited for our kids that it does affect personally; I’m excited for our allies in the community. I’m super excited to see what’s going to come out of this.

You said it was kind of different for you growing up. Can you do a comparison of how those kind of issues were dealt with when you were in high school compared to how they’re dealt with now?

When I was in high school, I knew one kid, maybe two [who were gay]. Nobody talked about it and they weren’t out. Everything was anonymous. I graduated in ‘94. In the 90’s and nobody was talking about it. The AIDS epidemic was still pretty prevalent, and that put a very negative umbrella on the community. It was just something that was done in secret. I remember I wrote an article for the school newspaper, I don’t know why I just wanted to write an article on it, I remember interviewing [unintelligible] and I remember going to Passages, which is a LGBTQ community for teens in Kansas City. I interviewed my best friend who had just come out to me. It was all very hush hush and you didn’t really talk about it. It was weird in high school. You have kids at Blue Valley Northwest that they might identify as gay or lesbian or trans, but they are not going to come out until after high school because it is still a very scary time. That part of high school hasn’t changed. We didn’t have that knowledge and we didn’t have Ellen DeGenereses. The people fighting for the community. It was all a secret, nobody was really out. Twenty years later all of a sudden you have a huge community of people that now we can look up to…Granted maybe they’re celebrities, it’s still cool to see. People like Elizabeth Warren…who’s just an amazing example of someone who had to fight in the closet for so long and now she’s a prominent senator in our country. That would’ve never happened, just twenty years ago. I think that’s really exciting. I think [students] have this amazing opportunity and what you do with it is what’s next.

*BVNWnews was unable to obtain opposing viewpoints during the process of this story.

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