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A Wiccan Couple’s Fight For Recognition

by Jason Pitzl-Waters

The DesMoines Register does a great job illustrating why legalizing same-sex marriage isn’t only about gay rights, but the rights of religious minorities as well. The paper profiles Toni Heard and Michelle McBride, a Nebraskan couple who were handfasted in a Wiccan ceremony two years ago, but are now hoping to gain legal recognition thanks to the Iowa state Supreme Court. The words “religious freedom” get thrown around a lot. Opponents of same-sex marriage like to scare people into believing that allowing gays to marry will somehow limit theirs, even though no real proof of that has emerged. Meanwhile, religious groups who do bless, honor, and perform same-sex unions are told that their rites aren’t legally valid. Now a lack of legal recognition might not make the rite any less blessed or valid in the eyes of their co-religionists, but it does complicate things if they want our government on the state or national level to also acknowledge that they are a joined couple and deserving of the same legal privileges afforded opposite-sex unions.

“Kelly McBride’s eyes filled with tears. Both her daughter and Heard had been victims of crimes as youngsters and only started healing when they found each other, she said. “They found love – and then the state told them they couldn’t show their love,” Kelly McBride said. “Now they can.” The couple live with Kelly McBride and her son, Kegan, 18, who was also in tow as a witness Monday. Heard, 26, and Michelle McBride met on school bus No. 2 11 years ago. They both sang in the high school chorus. Heard was in foster care. When she aged out of the system, she moved into the McBride home. In 2007, Heard and Michelle McBride were married in the Wiccan religion but wanted to marry in Iowa for legal reasons. The marriage isn’t recognized in Nebraska, however.”

Read the original article at: Wild Hunt

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