Matthew Mansell woke up in his Placentia home Friday morning and began to get ready for work like it was any other day. Then he turned on CNN and saw the news that would make it a day he’ll never forget: The Supreme Court had decided in favor of nationwide same-sex marriage.
It was an announcement that carries weight for many Americans but held particular resonance for Mansell, who, along with husband John Espejo, was among more than 30 plaintiffs in the high court case.
The couple married in San Francisco in 2008 and adopted two children. But when they moved to Tennessee after a job transfer in 2012, they realized the legality of their marriage was no longer recognized. They joined a lawsuit there seeking to prove their union should not be invalidated by the state and returned to California last year.
As Mansell watched the news on TV on Friday, his stomach knotted. Then relief set in. His husband would experience a similar sense of shock and relief. It had been a close margin – a 5-to-4 vote - but they had won.
“It’s amazing to think that our little marriage, a regular marriage from Northern California, could affect so many others,” Mansell said. “It’s a good day.”
It would be a busy day, too. Mansell called in to his office to say he wouldn’t be coming in to work. Several news crews showed up at their house before lunch.
“The phone started ringing, and it really hasn’t stopped since,” Mansell said.
The couple’s young children, Wyatt, 8, and Elyse, 7, were happy for their parents -- but they also wanted to know what was for breakfast, whether they could watch TV and if one of their parents could fix their video game console.
Mansell said the decision doesn’t mark the end of the fight for equal rights for same-sex couples, citing discrimination and housing problems that remain. And the couple have no plans to move back to Tennessee any time soon.
For now, Mansell just hopes opponents recognize that a same-sex marriage is not something to fear.
During his busy morning, Mansell had not yet had time to read the Supreme Court opinion. But his kids’ video game console? It’s been fixed.