British Columbia·Q & A

Dan Savage 'thrilled' by U.S. legalization of gay marriage

We spoke to outspoken author and gay activist Dan Savage to get his take on the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark ruling giving gay people the right to marry in all 50 states.

'Their families are no longer considered second-class citizens and their children are no longer disadvantaged'

In this photo taken on May 22, 2013, author Dan Savage is in his home in Seattle. Savage's latest book, "American Savage," was released on Tuesday, May 28. ( AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

In a landmark ruling on Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled five to four that laws prohibiting same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, making the United States the 19th country to allow same-sex marriage.

"This ruling will strengthen all of our communities by offering to all loving same-sex couples the dignity of marriage across this great land," said U.S. President Barack Obama.

On the Coast host Gloria Macarenko spoke to outspoken author and gay activist Dan Savage shortly after the ruling.

What was your reaction when you heard the announcement?

I am thrilled that the United States has finally caught up with Canada. I was on the edge of my seat. I am Catholic and we are a dark and pessimistic people and so I didn't want to presume that it would go our way. I would have loved a 6-3 decision instead of a 5-4, but I will take equality 5-4 over inequality any day.

13 states still had laws against same-sex marriage. What does this ruling mean for same-sex couples living in those states? 

It means they are now full citizens under the law. They can avail themselves of all of the rights, responsibilities and protections of marriage. Their families are no longer considered second-class citizens and their children are no longer disadvantaged.

The most important rights kick in invariably at the worst times of your life, sickness, death, sometimes divorce or custody issues and those are the moments we most need marriage protections and what this ruling means for those people in the 13 states, is they have those protections now.

U.S. columnist and political advocate Dan Savage, right, poses with husband Terry Miller, left. The couple were married in 2005 in Vancouver. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press)

Some Conservatives, such as former Arkansas governor and presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee, say they will not accept the ruling. Is that significant or just bluster?

We aren't dependent on Mike Huckabee to accept the ruling. I think it will hurt the Republicans in the general election.

The Republicans are going to have to tell their shrinking, aging, bigoted base what it wants to hear about marriage. That will play well in Republican primaries and it will not play well in a general election.

Let Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee and Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio run their mouths at their own peril. Increasingly, what we are seeing is that they are only hurting themselves.

You married your partner Terry Miller in Vancouver in 2005, after Canada legalized same sex marriage. What was it like to be married and have the U.S. government consider it basically meaningless?

It was galling and insulting. We would joke that we were husbands in Canada and boyfriends in America. That we would drive across the border and suddenly be married, and then drive back home and suddenly be strangers to each other under the law.

That was bitter and that was upsetting, but it also fuelled our passion for the movement. That upset prompted me and so many other LGBT Americans and our straight allies to engage in this fight and ultimately today to win it.


To hear the full interview, listen to the audio labelled Dan Savage on same-sex marriage ruling.

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