Gay Marriage in Nebraska's Future?

By: Kim Eiten Email
By: Kim Eiten Email

"It puts you in this legal limbo sort of place, because we are married in our hearts and in the hearts of our family and friends, but when we travel our marital status changes every time we cross state lines." -- Robin Whisman, married in Iowa, lives in Nebraska

If one lawmaker had his way, gay couples would exchange wedding vows in Nebraska.

Just days ago, the Supreme Court struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act.

While that gives gay couples equal rights in 13 states and the District of Columbia where same sex unions are legal, it has no effect here.

Senator Brad Ashford hopes that will change for people like Robin Whisman.

Whisman proudly wears her wedding band, a symbol of her new marriage.

But, the state of Nebraska says that union doesn't exist.

"It puts you in this legal limbo sort of place, because we are married in our hearts and in the hearts of our family and friends, but when we travel our marital status changes every time we cross state lines," Whisman said.

If Ashford has his way, Whisman and her wife won't just be recognized as a legal couple in Iowa where they wed, but also in Lincoln where they live.

"It's a hard one for some who have grown up in a traditional view of marriage. I get it," Ashford said. "But there's nothing in marriage equality that will prevent those traditional values to continue."

Whether or not that happens, may come from the court.

With the Supreme Court's decision to strike down DOMA, this is a time when many in support of gay marriage are looking ahead.

OUTLinc's Tyler Richard said it's a first step.

"There's a lot of hope in people's hearts right now," he said.

All three said, for the time being, they're keeping a close eye on proposed legislation regarding things like adoption and foster parenting by same sex couples.

"Because someone may be gay, has nothing to do with their ability to love children," Senator Ashford said. "Those are very real important issues."

"We're going to see a lot more people seeing possibilities here in Nebraska and not thinking they need to leave and go some place else to be happy and healthy," Richard said.

In the meantime, Whisman isn't looking too far ahead.

"I really hope marriage equality is a national reality in the very near future, but I hold out on getting my hopes up too soon," she said. "I think it's a process that's going to take awhile."


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