SCOTUS hearing on Prop 8 heats up local gay marriage debate - | WBTV Charlotte

SCOTUS hearing on Prop 8 heats up local gay marriage debate


When Ken Wittenauer started dating his husband 25 years ago, the idea of marrying him seemed impossible. But five years ago, the couple tied the knot in Massachusetts.

He says it changed their lives.

"It was very emotional for both of us, it had a big impact on how our families view us. How our friends see us, it's a structure or template that people can identify us with," said Ken Wittenauer.

Gay marriage is illegal in North Carolina, but is recognized in 9 states and DC. Supporters want it legalized in all states.

Two gay couples have challenged California's proposition 8, which outlaws gay marriage, saying it violates their constitutional rights.

On Tuesday night, almost 300 gathered at Marshall Park in Uptown Charlotte to support gay marriage.

"You can't put a law on love. You just cannot. Everyone has the right to love who they choose," said Rev. Leslie Oliver.

The case, now in the hands of the Supreme Court, has sparked controversy across the U.S.

David Hains with the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte says marriage is between a man and a woman.

"Most often the adults in same sex unions certainly have love for one another, but they can't create life and the ability to create life is central to what marriage is," said Hains.

But Ken says the issue of gay marriage goes beyond the emotional aspect. He says the uncertainty makes it difficult for he and his husband to plan their future.

"We're looking at retirement, social security, pension, inheritance, this is really a difficult process for us to try and plan and participate and we're not going to be treated the same," said Ken.

Still, Hains says in order for a marriage to be valid, couples must be able to have children together.

"I don't see it as a question of discrimination, I see it as different abilities," said Hains.

A CBS poll posted on Tuesday show 53% of Americans are in favor of gay marriage.

Copyright 2013 WBTV. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly