Local same-sex couple awaits Supreme Court decisions
By Nick Austin, Meteorologist / Reporter - bio | email
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB-TV) -- "I'm very proud of my marriage," exclaims Chuck Hill.
He and his partner Mario Forte have been together for 16 years and first shared their story with Channel 3 last May. They were officially married in California in 2008 before Proposition 8 put a halt to further same-sex marriages.
While Hill supports civil unions, he's glad he and Forte could make their commitment legal, at least in the eyes of one state.
"I don't know what magic spell happens or what exactly takes place, but when you're actually married and know you have a legal document that's binding you together it makes a huge difference," says Hill.
He believes same-sex marriage isn't a matter of religion.
"Like all faiths, [Christianity] doesn't recognize everyone and when it does it condemns those it doesn't want to recognize," says Hill.
To Hill it's a matter of constitutional rights promised by the founding fathers.
"The right to pursue happiness however you choose to do so," explains Hill. "That's what this country's about."
But unless the Supreme Court rules against Proposition 8 and state's rights, Tennessee couldn't ever pass a law that allows same-sex marriages.
"My state, who denies me the right to be married, may have to recognize my marriage if Prop 8 falls," hopes Hill.
More important to Hill is DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act. If it's found to be unconstitutional then same-sex couples, Hill says, can truly begin to feel equal.
"That means we can start repealing these mini-DOMAs that these state representatives have set up. Because that's all they are, mini-DOMAs," says Hill. "It's nothing but hate."