“This has been a lifelong battle for me to believe that I am a legitimate human being based under the cultural misunderstanding, hatred, the religious prejudice based on ignorance and violence that I grew up with,” Mills said. “The decision (yesterday) is monumental.”
Mills, a former Massachusetts Appeals Court judge, has previously said he’s lived with a “half-century of guilt and shame” about being gay. Noting the split vote and Republican opposition, “there are still pockets of bigotry and hate,” he said.
“This is another step,” said Mills of the ruling. “There needs to be awareness and education to overcome centuries of cultural and religious ignorance. Little by little the tide began to change as people realized they knew lesbian and gay people who finally were able to become visible and come out of the closet of social and cultural shame.”
Manchester-by-the-Sea resident Hope Watt-Bucci, who founded North Shore Pride last year, was in the car when two friends called her with the news about the ruling. She has been married to her wife Lisa for seven years, and they have been together for 11 years.
“It is a huge victory,” Watt-Bucci said. “I never thought I’d see marriage rights for the LGBT community in my lifetime. We’ve come a very long way in a very short period of time. There has been a lot of movement in the past decade.”
The decision comes as the group prepares for its second annual North Shore Pride Parade and festival in Salem on Saturday.
“I am ecstatic not only for the decision on DOMA, but also for the decision by the Supreme Court to say the ban on same-sex marriages in California is unconstitutional,” she said. “Finally California will be able to have marriage equality like Massachusetts.”