Sami King, left, and wife Jori Welchans. Photo courtesy King-Welchans family.
On Friday, when the U.S. Supreme Court said it was unconstitutional to deny same-sex couples the right to marry, it came as a great relief for couples across the nation, including here in Alaska. Though already legal in Alaska, if the High Court had ruled otherwise, the state likely would have appealed the lower court ruling that made it legal here.
For couples from states such as Alaska, the High Court’s ruling guarantees their marriage – and all the legal rights and responsibilities that carries – will be recognized nationwide.
“It’s just good to know that your partner, your wife is in charge if something were to happen. There’s just that security to not worry about it,” said former Kodiak High School teacher and athletic director Sami King, who now lives in Palmer. She and her wife, Jori Welchans, were married just last month.
“No one can deny her if I’m sick in the hospital. She can come see me, because she is my next of kin, she is my family. And that’s huge,” King said. “I guess it probably doesn’t seem huge to most people because they already have that. But for someone who doesn’t have that, it’s tremendous.”
King said it’s hard to overstate that kind of new-found security.
“It is just literally indescribable. It’s just one of those things in the back of your mind you know you don’t have the same rights as everyone else,” she said. “With the decision, it’s like wow, we do now. So it’s relief of … again, you just can’t even describe it. It’s like you feel safe.”
She said the ruling on marriage legality goes beyond security, and signals a new wave of acceptance.
“You know you make those connections and the all of a sudden those barriers, that fear and that misunderstanding is broke down,” she said. “So I think this is just bigger than we can even, you know, wrap our arms around right now.”
KMXT caught up with King on Friday morning while she was in Fairbanks.