When it comes to public opinion on same-sex marriage, the tides are changing.
“I think what we’re seeing in the country as a whole is a continuing conversation and an evolution in public opinion for the marriage of same-sex couples,” said James Esseks, attorney for Edith “Edie” Windsor, to msnbc host Thomas Roberts Thursday.
Esseks successfully argued that the Defense of Marriage Act should be overturned before the Supreme Court. The ACLU director of the national LGBT Rights Project represented Windsor in the case. She filed a suit after she was forced to pay more than $300,000 in estate taxes after the federal government refused to recognize her marriage to her late wife, Dr. Thea Spyer.
“America is coming to realize that gay people want to get married for the same reasons straight people want to get married,” Esseks said. “To demonstrate our love and commitment to each other, in front of friends and family.”
In 2011, a majority of Americans first favored same-sex marriage, and this past March, acceptance for same-sex marriage hit a new high—58%, according to an ABC poll. Just ten years ago, 37% of Americans supported same-sex marriage.
Winsor told reporters that she cried after hearing the Supreme Court ruling.
“We won everything we asked and hoped for. Wow,” she said at The Center, an LGBT rights community center in New York City.
Windsor was the first Supreme Court plaintiff of the day to get a call from President Obama.
“The president congratulated her on this victory, which was a long time in the making, said he was heartened by the court’s decision to strike down Section 3 of DOMA so that loving committed couples could enjoy full equality under the law,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said. “He said, that it is fitting that this historic ruling should come today, just 10 years after the court struck down laws making same-sex relationships illegal in Lawrence v. Texas.”
Now that 13 states and the federal government recognize same-sex marriages, it’s up to all other states to review whether or not they should recognize same sex marriages.