MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - The Supreme Court issued two major rulings on same-sex marriage Wednesday and the decisions are drawing mixed reviews across the midstate area.
In the first case, the justices struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) allowing legally married same-sex couples to be eligible for federal benefits. In the second ruling, the court declined to rule on California's Proposition 8, allowing gay marriage to resume in the state.
While same-sex marriage advocates were celebrating across the country and in Middle Georgia, others are criticizing the high court's decisions and legal experts are questioning what's next for Georgia.
Along the Bible Belt, opponents cite religious views as reason for their opposition.
"In the Bible, God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve," Sammy Briggs said outside of the Bibb County Courthouse, "it's an abomination against God, that's how I feel about gay marriage."
St. Joseph Catholic Church in Macon stands against redefining marriages.
"I think it's a sad day for our country that secularism, which really has become the new state religion, is not being separate from our government," said Father Allan McDonald, pastor at St. Joseph Catholic Church."
The court determined the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is a discriminatory issue requiring the federal government to recognize legal same-sex marriages and allow benefits to those couples.
For Georgia native, Amber Powell, it means she may one day be able to marry a woman and share the same rights as other married couples.
"Everyone should have the rights regardless of who you date, what you look like, what you believe" Powell said, "I just think that everyone should have the same rights, just because of who I want to be with, doesn't mean I'm less than a person.
The ruling doesn't mean that all gay couples have the right to marry, it only applies to states that legally recognize same-sex unions—Georgia isn't one of them.
"Those purposes might be limited depending on what the federal benefit is if they're living in a state like Georgia that doesn't recognize marriage, that raises a question when the state where the couple married and the state where they live don't have the same policy," said Scott Titshaw, Associate Professor of Law at Mercer University.
He believes it may be months before the state and legal experts get clarity on what this all means for gay couples living in our area. Either way, that hasn't stopped people like Amber Powell from celebrating the landmark victory.