Victory for gay right advocates as DOMA overturned by Supreme Co

Victory for gay right advocates as DOMA overturned by Supreme Court

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Gay rights advocates celebrate an historic decision by the Supreme Court after the defense of marriage act is overturned.

How do you define a significant other?

"Absolutely the other half of everything that makes me happy," said Ladi Loera, a supporter of gay marriage.

Ladi is talking about Chris.

"He would come in for the stupidest things. Oh, you know, I ran outta pencils and he would come in and buy pencils. Oh, we ran out of tape in the office and he would come in and buy tape. It was silly," said Ladi.

They would eventually start dating, even go into business together, with Ladi focusing on the artwork and Chris handling the rest.

Ladi said, "We decided to make my business the family business. Which is what we always wanted, which was a "pop and pop shop.""

For 18 years, they were a duo.

"I can't remember a time that he was not around," Ladi said.

Chuck Smith, with Equality Texas, said, "It's a huge victory to have the United States Supreme Court say that there's no rational basis to treat Americans differently because of their sexual orientation."

It doesn't change Texas law, but Chuck says it's a huge momentum boost.

Smith said, "Our governor spends a lot of time on the west coast and on the east coast, trying to recruit businesses to move to Texas and the reality is that there are many places where Texas has a bad reputation because Texas is not viewed as a welcoming place for everyone that's in the labor force."

Ladi added, "Boring paperwork, that's what you're fighting for. You are fighting so that when someone passes away, you can sit home and cry as opposed to having a call a lawyer and having to say, can I stay in my house? Can I keep the dog? Can I keep my car?"

These are the questions Ladi was left with when Chris passed away in 2010 from a very rare form of cancer, despite him having a will.

"You do not get the treatment that a spouse gets...You're nothing more than a roommate," said Ladi. "I'm sorry. I start remembering everything that we went through and it makes me kind of misty-eyed...Blood trumps everything."

With DOMA gone, couples in the 12 states that recognize same-sex marriage will now be able to receive the same benefits as heterosexual couples. The same cannot be said for couples living in states that do not recognize same-sex marriage.

"The car was his, which is one of the reasons why I wanted it, but it was our family car...but I haven't been able to do anything yet because it's in his name...so I get a bill for Chris, every month, as if he was here," said Ladi. "August 30, 2010 at 1p.m. he passed away, but then it's all these little things that keep reminding you and it's almost as if you have to live that death all over again."

Experts say the Americans with Disabilities Act, Family and Medical Leave Act and Employee Retirement Income Security Act are all laws that could be impacted by the DOMA ruling.

They expect the biggest legal fights will be in states that don't recognize same-sex marriages, like Texas.

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