Locals React to Supreme Court's Decision on Same Sex Marriage

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PANAMA CITY-- On Friday morning the United States Supreme Court decided the fate of millions of Americans. The court ruled the 14th Amendment requires all 50 states to issue a marriage license for same sex couples seeking one. Celebrations have taken place throughout the country, and many are holding festivities of their own right here in Panama City, but other locals strongly oppose the court's decision.

Friday was one for the history books.

"It is really the start of a whole new world for all Americans," said local gay right activist, Stan Grisby.

After a long battle by the LGBT community, gay marriage is now officially a constitutional right.

"I can't believe that it happened in many lifetime.I'm so happy," said PFLAG Communications Liaison, Susan Sizemore.

Crowds exploded with cheers Friday morning outside the Supreme Court and here in Panama City locals are holding celebrations of their own.

"I think it is just a wonderful exclamation point to the reality of people having marriage equality and to have it come in pride week is just lovely," said Sizemore.

Grisby has been with his partner for 21 years. They have two children and five grandchildren. He says after spending the first 23 years of his life in hiding, he's excited to see the world becoming more accepting.

"Americans need to know that it's okay to be gay. We're not freaks of nature. We're human beings and we were created in the eyes of God," said Grisby.

Many members of the LGBT community tell me that this victory is about a lot more than just the right to get married. They say they're now one step closer to equality.

"Gay people have never asked for special rights. We've asked for equal rights. Legal things that come along with the ruling [Friday] are things that we've been waiting for over the years. That we can file joint taxes, if something happens to one of us before the other one we have legal protections now for both of our estates," said Grisby.

But not everyone is happy about the Supreme Court's decision. Local Pastor Jeff Scalf says marriage is sacred and should stay between a man and a woman.

"If a gay couple comes to this church and to me and wanted me to marry them, I could not marry them because it is unbiblical because the Bible says that it's between a man and a woman so I have to uphold what the Bible says. Now if the law says I have to marry them and I refuse and I'll be arrested, then I'll be arrested," said Pastor Jeff Scalf.

Pastor Scalf says the Bible says homosexuality is a sin, and no legal ruling can change that.

"I know individuals that are homosexuals and every time I see them I hug them tell them I love them and they know where I stand, but I still love them and I think that should be the Christian response to this whole thing," said Pastor Scalf.

"We are all people and we were all created in the image of God. I'm a Christian and I love my God and I thank him every single day," said Grisby.

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