Same sex couples monitor Supreme Court's discussion - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Same sex couples monitor Supreme Court's discussion


SUN PRAIRIE (WKOW)-- The U.S Supreme Court is now mulling over the issue of same-sex marriage. Day two of its hearings focused on the Defense of Marriage Act, or "DOMA."     

The 1996 law defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. It means same-sex couples are not eligible for federal benefits like heterosexual couples. On Wednesday, a majority of the justices questioned the law. Justice Anthony Kennedy said it appears to intrude on the power of states that choose to recognize same-sex marriage.

DOMA supporters say changing the law would threaten the sanctity of marriage.

A lot of people back here at home are keeping an eye on what's going on in Washington. People on both sides of the issue.

"As it stands you know, we have two separate families. One child each," mother Kristin Retzleff says.

Being a same-sex couple, Retzleff and her partner Brittany Brazzel face their own set of challenges. It's why they're paying close attention to the news coming out of Washington. The couple is eager to see how the supreme court's decision will affect their lives.

"I'm excited for one, because you know even just 10-years ago this would have not been a topic of discussion," Brazzel says.

It's a discussion that experts say will have a wide ranging ripple affect throughout the country.

"They could visit their spouse in the hospital, they would be able to inherit from the spouse," family law attorney Christopher Krimmer says. "They would get survivors benefits under the VA. They would be treated as any other spouse."

Some have deep concerns about that. Members of Wisconsin Family Action, a group against same sex marriage, say the judges must consider the affect gay marriage will have on children.

"The very best place for children to be reared is in the homes of their married moms and dads and that keeps getting reinforced over and over and over again," Wisconsin Family Action President Julaine Appling says.

But Brazzel and Retzleff disagree, both coming from single parent families who argue that with two moms their kids are doing just fine.

"You could spend even one hour with our family to see that we do all the normal things any family in this country would do," Brazzel says. "Our kids are fine, they're amazing."

Even though discussions are going on right now in the supreme court it's likely they won't come to a decision for several weeks. Some experts say the decision could come as late as June.

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