CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Local LGBT rights groups and their supporters are cheering two decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court, despite a North Carolina law that bans same-sex marriage.
A few dozen gay rights supporters gathered at the corner of Trade & Tryon in Uptown Charlotte Wednesday evening for a rally in support of the rulings against Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Proposition 8.
"The Supreme Court has told the regular, average gay or lesbian Charlottean, ‘You know what, your life matters. Your citizenship matters. The rights that you have matter. And you're not going to be ignored anymore,’" said Matt Comer, editor of Qnotes.
One Charlotte couple even traveled to Washington D.C. to see the news unfold on the Supreme Court steps.
"This is just one of those things we can look back, tell our grandchildren about," said Zuni Johnson, who booked a last minute flight with his partner of 16 years, Jason McCraw.
The rulings will do little to change things for those in the North Carolina's gay community. In May 2012, voters in the state overwhelming ushered in a strict same-sex marriage ban.
"The unfortunate reality for North Carolinians is there are no legal same-sex marriages here," said Comer.
The Catholic Diocese of Charlotte called today's rulings "a national tragedy."
"It seems like the impact is going to be minimal. North Carolinians who voted for marriage in 2012 can rest assured that that vote is still good in this state," said David Haines, communications director for the Diocese.
A Charlotte couple at Wednesday's rally in Uptown were married in Washington, D.C. in 2011, and hoped the high court rulings could pave the way for change.
"We tried here in North Carolina recently and we're all really disappointed, but perhaps this opens the door that chances could improve," said Lynn Helms.
Johnson and McCraw, who return from their whirlwind trip to the nation's capital on Thursday, said the federal recognition that comes with the strike down of DOMA is important.
"It's great that I live in a country, and I have a government that backs me, who I am, and my partner of almost 16 years, and the life that we have together," said McCraw.