Jim Williams and Dr. Zach Lamm.
Courtesy of Jim Williams and Dr. Zach Lamm

Chicago couple upgrades from domestic registry to marriage

Updated

Join us in celebrating the first anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. To gear up for the June 26 anniversary, msnbc will feature couples’ and individuals’ reflections on the impact the decision has had on their lives and the future of the LGBT rights fight in the United States. 

In the last year, marriage equality has come to nine states. Federal judges have also struck down same-sex marriage bans in Idaho, Oklahoma, Virginia, Michigan, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin, though their decisions are on hold pending appeals.

No ban on same-sex nuptials has survived in federal court since DOMA’s demise. And, as of this month, every remaining ban has been hit with a legal challenge. Both marriage equality advocates, and opponents alike, believe it won’t be long before the issue is once again before the U.S. Supreme Court, and ultimately legalized throughout the nation.

Names: Jim Williams  and Dr. Zach Lamm
Domestic Partner Registry: Nov 20, 2009; Civil Union: Nov. 18, 2011; Upgrade to Marriage: June 2, 2014 (back-dated to CU date)
Residence: Chicago, IL
Professions: Information architect/Marketing researcher

Jim and Zach responded collectively. 

“Our 10-year-old niece, living in Alabama, has a vastly more evolved perspective than what we saw when we were growing up there. She views gay people as a normal part of life - not something that needs to be ‘accepted’ or ‘tolerated’.”
Jim Williams and Zach Lamm, #msnbcpride

Have you noticed a general shift in attitude toward the LGBT community since the Supreme Court ruling?
It definitely feels like gay relationships, and being gay in general, are becoming more accepted. We think that in large part that has to do with the fact that legal equality for gay people and gay couples has started to feel like an inevitability, and there is a feeling that, in terms of attitude, this change has already happened – we are just waiting for the laws to catch up.

What are the ways in which the DOMA ruling has fallen short?
The obvious shortcoming of the DOMA decision is that it didn’t just create marriage equality for gay people – though it did set the stage for other court decisions to help move us closer to equality in small, but rapid, steps.

What would you like President Obama and future leaders to prioritize in terms of LGBT rights?
President Obama has come a long way since taking office. His original positions on and prioritization of LGBT issues were disappointing. But now he seems to be on the right page, and the next horizon for gay rights should be providing workplace protections for gay and transgender people.

If you were married recently, how has it affected your lives?
Our marriage, the result of an upgrade of our civil union from 2011, took effect a week ago, so we haven’t had a lot of experience with the legal and everyday implications of being married. But we are looking forward to being able just to tell people we are married and not having to provide a complicated explanation that having a civil union required.

What are your hopes and dreams for the next generation or [for your children]?
We can already see a difference in the newest generation. Our 10-year-old niece, living in Alabama, has a vastly more evolved perspective than what we saw when we were growing up there. She views gay people as a normal part of life – not something that needs to be “accepted” or “tolerated.” It’s not a big deal for her, and that shift in attitude is going to have big implications for the future.

More #msnbcpride: Meet the couple who says ,”marriage alone is not a silver bullet.”

DOMA, Gay Rights and Marriage Equality

Chicago couple upgrades from domestic registry to marriage

Updated