The U. S. Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in the first of two cases involving the rights of same-sex couples to marry. Tuesday, the justices listened to a challenge to California's proposition 8 – a law that voters in the state approved banning same-sex marriage. The issue has struck a chord here in Acadiana.
“I think we've really built up a movement and I think we've already won to be honest with you,” said Colin Miller, a representative with the Forum for Equality.
Miller says in the last few years, he's seen a major shift in same-sex marriage tolerance statewide. Although thousands are clearly ready to see a change, Miller knows there's a long road ahead.
“It's discrimination that's built into the law,” said Miller. “It takes a lot of time for that under-represented amount of people, such as gay, lesbian, bisexuals, and transgender to really break through those barriers.”
“This country was founded on freedom and I think we need to accentuate that, to embrace that,” said Josh Coen, one of the few University of Louisiana at Lafayette students minoring in the school's LGBT minor. He says academically speaking, the high court hearings come at the perfect time. One he calls the civil rights movement of his generation.
“This isn't a gay case or a straight case, like this weird binary thinking that we're used to,” said Coen. “This is a case of human rights.”
Given the sensitivity of the issue, those in opposition declined to speak on-camera. Another student, Quadraex White, says although he's religious, he's remained open minded.
“I'm a fair person, so if I have the right to do something, then the next person, no matter what they believe in should have the same rights as me,” said White.
News 10 reached out to the Diocese of Lafayette to see what they thought of the landmark case hitting the Supreme Court. Bishop Michael Jarrell said, “The Catholic Church believes that marriage is a union between one man and one woman. Nothing else equals marriage.”