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'Avenue Q' puppets speak out for gay rights

Rod and Ricky from the Broadway's of "Avenue Q" joined Alex Witt for a discussion on life since the DOMA decision, one year ago.

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. On June 25, 2014,  just a day before the anniversary,  Indiana became the 20th state in the nation where gay and lesbians couples can legall  wed. Minutes later, a three-judge panel on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Utah’s ban on same-sex nuptials – the first time a federal appeals court has ruled in favor of marriage equality since the DOMA decision.

In the last year, marriage equality has come to 10 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.

"Well, you know the tide is going forward for gay rights but I think the next big fight will be puppet rights."'

Names: "Rod" and "Ricky", puppets from the Broadway cast of Avenue Q

Date of wedding: July 24, 2011

City, State: New York, New York 

Professions: Rod is a Wall Street banker; Ricky is a "Chelsea boy"

Below are highlights from Alex Witt's interview with the puppets. 

Alex: Let’s talk about the shift that either of you have noticed after this ruling.

Rod: It’s actually just been so wonderful to see, as DOMA’s been repealed, each individual state getting marriage rights—and more will follow suit.

Ricky: That’s the hope, right? That all the states will soon repeal their anti-gay marriage laws.

Alex: What do you think the likelihood of that happening is? Do you think this is a groundswell that will not be stopped?

Rod: Absolutely. I mean, it’s by the people of the United States, and other people will follow, and politicians will follow as well.

Alex: I mean, when you get folks like the president of the United States, does it get better than that?

Ricky: No, it doesn't get better, it certainly doesn't. And the process has been speeding up recently, right? There’s been more and more states—it’s just gaining momentum.

Alex: How about about marriage for you two. How’s that affected your life? 

Rod: It’s OK—we haven’t had sex in three years.

Ricky: Oh, Rod! It’s not that bad.

Rod: It’s OK. We do a lot of cuddling.

Ricky: We don’t even have feet. But yeah, we finally filed for taxes jointly together.

Rod: I do the taxes. He kind of just watches.

Ricky: I’m the brawn, he’s the brains.

Alex: What’s been the reaction of the audiences to your marriage? Have you noticed the applause louder?

Ricky: Well, you know we have this song at the end of the show it’s called “For Now,” and it’s when we celebrate all the things that are only temporary in life. So for a while the last line in the show was “George Bush is only for now,” and we got a lot of cheers for that. We have more and more things related to gay rights issues to end the show now. We say, “Prop 8 is only for now,” “DOMA is only for now.”

Rod: We say, “Chick-Fil-A." But less and less things are so hot button issues any more for political things. So right now we’re saying Justin Bieber.

Alex: How much do you think your voices have helped to change the conversation?

Rod: I think being a puppet actually allows us to say things that other people can't, and especially when the show first opened—it was a completely different political climate than what it is right now. And we've seen that the things that we’re saying are not so crazy and unbelievable and taboo anymore, and it's really cool to see that shift happen.

Alex: What about hopes and dreams for what’s coming next and for the next generation? Of puppets and otherwise.

Ricky: Well, you know the tide is going forward for gay rights, but I think the next big fight will be puppet rights. For people of all…

Rod: Colors and creeds and felts and fabrics.

Ricky: That’s the next big fight, but, for now, we’re happy to speak up for characters on Broadway from the gay and lesbian community.

 Follow Rod and Alex on Twitter: @avenueqmusical

Don't miss yesterday's profile: Soul musician: Laws alone don’t solve problems.