McHenry County residents react to Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling

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WOODSTOCK – Deb Glaubke plans to raise a flag symbolizing her love that she once thought would stir controversy.

With Friday's 5-4 ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court that gay couples have the right to marry in all 50 states, Glaubke said her rainbow flag will soon wave outside her home. She's one of many McHenry County residents celebrating the court's historic ruling.

“I’m feeling pride that our country has done the right thing and that I can hold my head up and I don’t feel different from everyone else,” Glaubke said. “...There’s just this sense of completion that we are accepted and we are Americans like everyone else.”

Woodstock residents Glaubke and her wife, Gale Harris, were the first same-sex couple to be married in McHenry County. But even after the couple of 26 years took their vows last June, uncertainties remained about how open they could be considering 14 states still had bans on gay marriage.

Glaubke said her wife called her Friday to relay news that Supreme Court justices declared state bans on gay marriage unconstitutional. It spurred feelings of pride, but also shock and nostalgia. The news took her back to marching on Washington in the ‘80s for gay marriage.

“We believed in the cause, and we were all for it, but I think there was a sense this would never happen in our lifetimes, even though there we were,” Glaubke said.

Toni Weaver, the chapter leader for PFLAG McHenry County and president of the PFLAG Council of Northern Illinois, said she burst into tears when she saw the decision come across her TV.

“I certainly had high hopes, but I was afraid to be too optimistic just in case,” Weaver said. “I was cautiously optimistic, but bracing myself just in case it didn’t come down in our favor.”

After the tears, Weaver dashed to the store to buy champagne and a cake reading "love wins out" for a celebration at the Tree of Life Unitarian Universalist Church in McHenry. Tree of Life leaders have long supported same-sex marriage, hosting the first in McHenry County last year.

Weaver, who has three sons, has been entrenched in the fight for marriage equality since her youngest son came out as gay in 2002. She felt a sense of victory knowing if her son was married, his love would be recognized regardless of the state.

“Now everybody is equal under the law,” Weaver said. “And our gay son is as equal as his brothers.”