Local same-sex couple reacts to Respect for Marriage Act

Published: Dec. 13, 2022 at 6:01 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The Respect for Marriage Act was signed Tuesday afternoon by President Biden, and LGBTQIA+ couples are breathing a sigh of relief.

13abc first spoke with Toledo couple John and Thomas Meinecke back in June 2022 when Roe v. Wade was overruled. Back then they said they were worried about their marriage becoming void after abortion rights were turned back over the the states. But after Tuesday’s action they said their worries are over.

“The really good thing is they can’t mess with our marriage,” said Thomas Meinecke. “We’re set, we’re locked in.”

Thomas was in the military and through their marriage, John received some of the military benefits. Back in June, John was scared of losing his health insurance if their marriage were to ever be determined unconstitutional.

But now John said, “It’s a blessing because I know that I won’t lose part of my health insurance and certain benefits that come with being married.”

While Tuesday was a happy day for LGBTQIA+ and interracial couples, the Meineckes are still concerned about the future.

“What this has done has protected our marriage,” said Thomas.

“For those of us who are already married our rights are still protected, but in the future, it may become illegal to get married again if the Supreme Court decides to overturn it,” added John.

The Respect for Marriage Act does not guarantee the right to marry because it doesn’t do anything to prevent the Supreme Court from overruling the case that made gay marriage legal. But same-sex marriages are now recognized across state lines, and couples now have the same federal benefits as any other married couple.

“It was a step in a very right direction. It was finally giving some recognition to our relationship,” said Thomas.

“But it could have went further,” said John.

If the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage is ever overturned, the states will hold the power, similar to abortion laws.

The Meineckes are now encouraging people to get out and vote in every election.

“Push the state legislation to pass a bill to recognize this is our relationship, it’s not yours. How dare you try to get in the middle of the person that I love? You have no place there,” said Thomas.

The Meineckes have been together since 2000 and tied the knot in 2015 when same-sex marriage was legalized.

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