On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage throughout the United States by a 5-4 vote. Today, the landmark decision celebrates its five year anniversary.
Moriah and Jeordie Dolente are also celebrating an anniversary today: their fifth wedding anniversary. The Dolente’s were the first homosexual couple to get married in Athens-Clarke County on June 26, 2015.
Today, this couple personally reflects on what has happened inside and outside of the LGBTQ community in the five years since the landmark court decision.
Five years after their historic nuptials in Athens, the Dolentes now call Loganville, Georgia, home with their 7-year-old daughter Maralynn and 1-year-old daughter Maeve. Moriah Dolente, 26, is a stay-at-home mom while Jeordie Dolente, 27, is the general manager of Ulta Beauty in Snellville, Georgia. Since their marriage as a lesbian couple in 2015, Jeordie Dolente has transitioned from female to male.
Moriah Dolente said the day the Supreme Court decision passed. It started out like any normal day: they dropped off their daughter at school and were back at their home when they got a text that read, “Love Wins." At that moment, Jeordie and Moriah Dolente looked at each other and said, “want to get married right now?”
So they did.
Together they arrived at the Athens-Clarke County courthouse around 12:30 p.m. and were coincidentally the first gay couple looking to get married that day. Moriah Dolente said they weren’t trying to be the first ones, but it just happened naturally.
A news crew was at the courthouse covering another event, but when they got word of the marriage ceremony they asked for permission to cover their wedding, Moriah Dolente said. The future Dolente’s agreed. Moriah and Jeordie Dolente were wed outside in the Veterans Memorial area of the courthouse as a group of spectators watched and the news got footage of the historic union, Moriah Dolente said.
The Dolente’s said the public’s reception after their marriage ceremony as mostly positive and recall being recognized in Athens by people in the community. There was some trolling online because their wedding was picked up by the news, but nothing severe, Jeordie said.
In a May 2019 survey, by the Pew Research Center, 61% of Americans support same-sex marriage in contrast to 37% in 2009 and 55% in 2015.
Then and now
Five years ago, Moriah Dolente hoped things were finally changing for the better, but now she feels the progression is backsliding during the Trump era, she said.
“Now that my spouse is a transgender individual, we are facing some other things coming out from our president,” Moriah Dolente said. “It’s weird and I thought we were getting more rights for our people. Now we are trying to strip things away.”
Jeordie Dolente said although he pays for his health insurance, he knows he could still be denied health care since the Trump administration removed healthcare and health insurance protections for LGBTQ citizens.
Jeordie Dolente said he and his wife are transparent with their children about the realities the couple faces. He believes through educating his children, the next generation is going to create lasting change.
“My biggest hope is that we can be that forward momentum that creates true change with raising our children to really complete that project for us in their lifetime, that would be really amazing,” Jeordie Dolente said.