NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - Hundred of supporters of the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, and Transgender community are celebrating the Supreme Court's ruling in favor of same-sex marriage.
10 On Your Side spoke to a gay couple who married in California where same-sex marriage was legal. Claus Ihlemann and Robert Roman expressed the joy they felt when the SCOTUS decision came down.
"The first phone call I received today was from my son," Ihlemann said through tears.
"He called to congratulate us," Roman added.
Ihlemann and Roman say the Supreme Court decision means they, and their union are legitimate.
"It's all about family," Roman said.
Roman and Ihlemann legally married in California in 2008, but only now is their union recognized by the federal government.
"It's validation," Roman said. "Nothing will ever change that we are committed for the rest of our lives but today was a validation by the U.S. government."
Their joy was shared by thousands around the country. Several LGBT supporters and same-sex couples celebrated outside the United States Supreme Court.
"You can't describe the feeling, because it kind of fulfills your entire body from the top to the very tip of our toes," Ihlemann said. "You just really feel like you've done the right thing in pushing for this."
Before the SCOTUS ruling, Roman and Ihlemann had to get attorneys and complete mounds of paperwork to have rights comparable to heterosexual couples. The couple had to fight for rights like social security benefits, the right to make health care decisions for one another, even simple things like being able to visit the other at the hospital.
The SCOTUS ruling means the pair is now eligible for the same federal benefits and rights that heterosexual couples enjoy. The couple says the ruling is not just about gay marriage, but civil rights.
"Love is love and you can't deny it that's where the equality comes in," Roman said.
Same-sex marriage is still illegal in Virginia, so SCOTUS' ruling does not affect the Commonwealth. But many say this gives them hope that Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage will be overturned.
"There is still work to be done, but it clears the path for a lot of it to be done," Executive Director of the LGBT Center for Hampton Roads Stacie Walls-Beegle said. "I think that it gives hope to everybody. They will be able to receive what other people in other states receive."
However, not all were pleased with the SCOTUS decision.
"We're disappointed, but we're not going anywhere," said Tom Peters with the National Organization for Marriage Wednesday. "This debate is going to continue."
Several LGBT organizations planned a United for Marriage Equality Rally in response to the Supreme Court rulings. The rally celebrated the SCOTUS decision at the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Norfolk.
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