Local couple celebrates Supreme Court ruling with marriage

The U.S. Supreme Court made a historic decision Friday, legalizing gay marriage.

Supporters of marriage equality are celebrating across the country the Supreme Court’s decision.

The high court voted 5-4 to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

Reegan Shafer and Nick Jensen have been together for almost nine years. Because same-sex marriage was not recognized in Wisconsin six years ago, the couple went ahead with a commitment ceremony, but now that things have changed they’re getting married.

“We’re renewing our vows in seven days to make it legal in the state of Wisconsin,” Shafer said.

The couple has had their wedding day picked out since October, when same-sex marriage became legal in the state.

“That’s why we had the commitment ceremony six years ago, we never thought it would happen,” Jensen said.

But Friday’s Supreme Court ruling makes their day a little more special.

“I think that was like the first thing I put on Facebook this morning, that it’s not a gay marriage. It was never a same-sex marriage issue for us, it was marriage equality,” Shafer said.

“The reality is there’s still some work to do,” said Jackson Jantzen, executive director of the LGBT Center in La Crosse.

Jantzen said marriage equality in the U.S. is a huge step for the country and the LGBT community, but said there are still several states in the country with laws against same-sex couples.

“In theory, members of the community can get married this weekend and then they can go into their jobs on Monday and be fired just because of who they love,” Jantzen said. “There’s not worker protections based on identity so they can be fired for being gay, lesbian or bi.”

Shafer and Jensen agree that things still won’t be easy for same-sex couples, but the couple said they are just glad they’re living in a time when their marriage is recognized.

“It goes back to love is love and it’s not same-sex, gay marriage, it’s marriage,” Shafer said.

The couple also acknowledges that this transition is not going to be easy, but they hope younger same-sex couples will now feel more comfortable being open about their relationships.