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CNY LGBT Support Group Optimistic About Supreme Court Recognizing Same-Sex Marriage

Scott Willis

The head of an LGBT support group says a Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage would be very meaningful for the older LGBT population they serve.  Supreme Court justices heard oral arguments Tuesday on two issues regarding same-sex marriages.
    Executive Director of Sage Upstate Kim Dill  says older couples have waited for this their entire lives. 

"Some have been married 30, 40, 50 years...or have been together without the benefits of marriage, and for them, this is something they've been fighting for all their lives.  It's a big moment."

Dill also says LGBT people do not need the government’s permission to be together, but they do need to have equal rights. 

"If the ruling comes down in our favor, will that make our relationships valid?  No, they already us.  Will that allow us to build families?  No, we already do that.  We don't really need permission for that.  What we need is equality.  We need to be recognized like every other citizen of this country."

Dill says there are endless rights and protections that would be afforded same-sex couples, especially in states that don't recognize their marriages... from social security and federal income taxes to military pensions and assisted living.  
Dill says a Supreme Court decision would raise awareness of the challenges facing other members of the LGBT community, specifically transgender people.  She says New York State offers them no legal protection against discrimination.

"They're more likely to be discriminated [against], twice the rate of discrimination; violence that's off the charts, including murder.  And also, a 41% suicide rate because of all the stress associated with living a life as a trans person.  Those are rights that we still need to work on."

Dill says if they're victorious in the Supreme Court, that should help increase the visibility of other issues like transgender rights and protection.  A decision is expected in late June.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at