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UCF students react to Supreme Court's same-sex marriage ruling. Brian Goins, Central Florida Future

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It's not every day that we as a nation get to witness history.

Most of our days are far from extraordinary. It's easy to get lost in the monotony of life, each day blending into the next, indistinguishable from those before or after.

But not today.

Today will join the likes of May 17, 1954, the day the Supreme Court decided to put an end to racial segregation in Brown v. Board of Education. It will join Aug. 18, 1920, the day the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote. It will join July 26, 1992, the day that gave millions of Americans with disabilities equal employment opportunities.

Because today, everyone in this country now has the right to marry whomever they choose, regardless of gender.

In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court has decided that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right in every one of the 50 states.

Before this, only 36 states had ruled in favor of marriage equality. But, with more than 70 percent of Americans agreeing that same-sex marriage should be legal in national polls, the SCOTUS could no longer argue with the will of the American people.

This is a tremendous victory for our country.

For years, we have celebrated our nation as a land of equality, one where everyone enjoys the same rights and privileges as their neighbors. But, we all know that the starry-eyed image we all like to flaunt and flatter ourselves with is hardly the reality thousands of our citizens face every day.

There are still many who face oppression and inequality, and old stereotypes and societal stigmas keep many from enjoying the same advantages as the rest of us.

For so long, members of the LGBTQ community have been part of that underprivileged group. They have had to fight for not only their rights, but their own identities in the eyes of the law. They have had to overcome rampant criticism, diagnoses of insanity and an overall prejudiced public.

With millions of adults identifying as gay, lesbian or bisexual, that's a lot of people that we've left feeling neglected and disappointed.

Now, the U.S. has become one of the 21 countries worldwide where same-sex marriage is legal.

With this new precedent in place, same-sex couples will be given all the same benefits as heterosexual couples upon signing marriage licenses. These include hospital visitations, medical decisions, custody and visitation rights with children, adoption rights, joint property rights and decisions regarding the death of a spouse.

In the majority opinion for the case, conservative Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote, "No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were."

Justice Kennedy is right. Marriage is one of the greatest acts of commitment and love two people can undertake together. It's a step everyone should have the right to take.

With this ruling, I will be able to see both friends and family, standing at an altar, promising to love each other, in sickness and in health, for as long as they both shall live. I will be able to see my sister gazing lovingly into the eyes of her girlfriend, both in beautiful white dresses, as they become lawfully wedded spouses.

And, if I am blessed with a son who falls for the cute boy next door or a daughter who's head over heels for the girl she met in school, I can rest easy knowing they will be able to spend their lives together, joined by their hearts and by the law.

To those who think these couples, those that exist now and those that will exist in the future, aren't respecting the hallowed commitment of marriage, I say this: love is something no one has the right to take away. These men and women are not trying to undermine the fundamentals of marriage or desecrate a sacred tradition. They just want to love each other and to show and share that love with the world.

Justice Kennedy put it best when he wrote, "Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization's oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right."

This day has done more than legalize marriage for millions, it has brought so many Americans closer to obtaining what our founding fathers declared every person should be entitled to: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

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Deanna Ferrante is a contributing writer for the Central Florida Future.

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