Equal Rights for All


Photo courtesy of Ms. O'Brien

Two Madison High School Faculty at their Wedding.

Marin Imhoff, Writer

What comes to your mind when you hear the term “marriage equality”? Does this strike you as a recurring topic? Or does your mind disregard it now that it’s reached its goal of becoming legal in all 50 states? Either way, this year was a great year for all same-sex and transgender couples as they woke up on June 26th with the exciting news of the marriage equality law finally being passed. This has been a striving goal for many years, and also a very controversial topic among the Supreme Court and the people of America. Some people were and still are against marriage equality, while others believe everyone has a right to marital happiness. Despite the fact that some disagree with marriage equality, its supporters have still managed to make much progress throughout the country, and even around the globe. Organizations and clubs have been formed, marches have been conducted, parades attended, the list is endless. MDO sat down with Madison High School’s guidance counselor, Mrs. O’Brien, to talk about her views on marriage equality and where it stands today.


MDO: How does it feel to be legally married in all 50 states after such a long struggle for marriage equality?

MO: Absolutely great. For a long time we’ve been advocates. We’ve been going to marches, and we’re involved politically with equal rights for all people. Prior to this, when we would travel through any of the Southern states that didn’t have marriage equality, we would have to bring our marriage license, our birth certificates, and our wills because if anything happened we wouldn’t have legal rights as each other’s next of kin. Now we don’t have to worry about it. The wedding ring says it all.

MDO: Were you actively involved in any gay rights movements?

MO: We’ve been involved in Garden State Equality, Human Rights Coalition, and we’ve done marches. Our family was also featured in “Gay in the Garden state” which talks about being a same sex couple in New Jersey with three kids.

MDO: Did you do anything to celebrate the day marriage equality became legal in all 50 states?

MO: I will never forget that Friday morning when Mrs. O’Brien yelled “Oh my god! It passed! It passed!” We both started crying as I got texts and phone calls from my family and friends. We also went to the Pride March and had a blast.

MDO: Did you see the legalization of marriage equality in a positive light or were you disappointed that it took so long to happen?

MO: I saw it in a positive light, but I was frustrated because I saw many times of discrimination. Even now when I call up to make a doctor’s appointment they ask me what my husbands name is. They assume I’m married to a man, and it’s just a matter of educating people.

MDO: Although marriage equality is legal in all 50 states, do you feel as if there is still progress to be made?

MO: Yes, because of what’s happening now with the Kim Davis situation. She has every right to believe in what she wants, but she has no right as a public employee to deny a marriage a license to anybody.

MDO: If you could sum up the legalization of marriage equality in one word what would it be?

MO: Empowering.


Thank you to Mrs. O’Brien for answering our questions and for being such an inspiring role model to all the students at MHS!