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Supreme Court decision sparks local discussion

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The Supreme Court’s ruling to allow legally married same-sex couples to obtain the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples is receiving mixed reactions locally.

"Some oppressed people have received some good news. Some captives have been set free and once again justice is flowing like a river,” Reverend John McLaughlin of Saint Jude Metropolitan Community Church said.

After Wednesday's ruling some are celebrating this as a victory in a long fight for equality.

"It's been a long struggle but it’s come much faster than we thought it would come about,” Carol Leininger said.

Leininger and her partner have been married for almost five years but together for twenty-five. She said she is looking forward to being able to file their federal taxes together for the first time, and the news brought tears to her eyes.

"I am just overwhelmed today,” Leininger she said with a smile.

Others are overwhelmed for different reasons.

"It’s just not a normal thing for me to accept. I was not brought up with gay marriages,” Sammy Willmann said. “I think we are going down where we shouldn't be."

Some think the Supreme Court’s decision will work against the ban on gay marriage North Carolina has in place.

"Perhaps it will add momentum to the forces that one day hopefully overturn the amendment to our Constitution. That's a much more difficult thing to do than just overturn a law,” Reverend McLaughlin said.

Over Leininger’s lifetime, she has seen a shift in society’s view of same-sex marriage and can only hope that change will impact future generations of gay, lesbian, and transgender people.

“Hopefully it's going to be a lot easier and they will be able have a normal life; they can just be like anybody else," Leininger said.

Wednesday Wilmington Pride will host a candle light vigil in celebration. It will start at 8:00 p.m. at 1819 Memorial on Martin Luther King Parkway.

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