This morning, in a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned DOMA, the law barring federal recognition of same-sex marriage.
A group of same-sex marriage supporters gathered at RU12? Community Center in Burlington to follow the proceedings. The two Supreme Court marriage decisions — one on DOMA, the other on California's Proposition 8 — were expected shortly after 10 a.m. The group at RU12? had set up two laptops on a conference table to follow along on NBC News and SCOTUSblog's live blog.
RU12? volunteer Susanna Weller (foreground, right), who works for the Vermont Department of Health, organized the gathering. "I couldn't sit by myself in my office and be 'working,'" she said. "I needed to be with my community."
The group of nine supporters and five reporters bantered nervously until 10:01, when Weller read aloud from SCOTUS blog, announcing the first opinion: "It's DOMA," she said. The room went silent.
When it became clear that the court had overturned DOMA, the audience cheered and cried. The nuances of the decision weren't immediately apparent, and it was still uncertain at that point how the court would rule on Proposition 8, but the audience was jubilant.
Barb Dozetos, a marketing consultant who once edited Vermont's now-defunct GLBT newspaper Out in the Mountains (pictured, talking with Kristin Carlson of WCAX), told reporters that the decision signaled that there was only one "flavor" of marriage. "Marriage is marriage, period," she said. "It basically finally takes the word 'gay' out from in front of marriage. That's what this means."