When Carol Turnbaugh started following Martin Luther King Jr., the ideas promoted by the future civil rights hero were so new that people thought she was crazy for supporting him. But she ended up on the right side of history, and the concepts that were once viewed as radical are now a way of life.

The 65-year-old York Township woman is hoping she can someday tell the same story about gay rights.

She was also ahead of the times on that issue, she said, accepting and embracing her son when he came out to her more than 20 years ago.

While she said her son isn't the kind of guy who's likely to settle down and get married, it would be nice if he weren't viewed as a "second-class citizen."

"He's 43 now, and I would like to see him have the rights of a full citizen of this country," she said. "This to me is probably the last great civil rights issue of our country."

Turnbaugh said tears welled up in her eyes Wednesday when she turned on the news and learned of two favorable U.S. Supreme Court rulings for gay marriage.

There will always be some people who don't support interracial marriage, and there will always be some people who view gays and lesbians as inferior or "perverted," she said. But the rulings will set precedents for future legal challenges, and the tide is turning, she said.

"It's a step in the right direction. Look how long the Civil Rights movement took for African Americans.


You can't have everything all at once, but it sure feels good today."

Starting again: About three years ago, Tiffany Minehart's parents' house burned to the ground. The destruction set into motion a series of changes, opportunities to start again.

As the family was forced to realize "what's really important," she took stock of her life and realized how unhappy she was, she said.

She had known she was a lesbian since she was a child, but she somehow ended up subscribing to societal norms and ignoring her earlier feelings.

Minehart, of West Manchester Township, was 29 and married to a man. She decided to end the marriage and, three years ago this month, came out to her family after meeting the woman she describes as "the love of my life."

They got married in Pennsylvania last October, but the marriage isn't recognized by the state. The couple planned to go to dinner Wednesday night to celebrate the court's decisions and talk about their course of action. They were hoping to go to another state to marry so their union would be recognized - at least for federal benefits - in Pennsylvania, she said.

But Ted Martin, who heads the gay rights group Equality Pa., said Pennsylvania couples like Minehart and her wife will have to wait. The federal court's decision is only valid in states where gay marriage is legal, and Pennsylvania has banned gay marriage.

Minehart said the day was filled with enthusiasm - joyful group text messages among friends as they celebrated - but there's still work to be done on a state level.

"I have to sit back and say that this is happening at a federal level," Minehart said. "There's going to be a trickling effect. Politicians are realizing that this is not something that's going to fizzle out and go away. We're not walking away and getting quieter. We're going to push more within our own Commonwealth."

Wrightsville couple: Wrightsville may not be a gay Mecca, but 34-year-old Sonia Molina and 33-year-old Tina Smeltzer don't think it's a bad place to raise their children.

The two women have three kids from relationships with men, but both said they finally felt they found "the one" when they started dating each other about a year ago.

"You just know when you're with that person; you don't have to ask any questions, you just know," Molina said.

Smeltzer said her bond with Molina is different from what she has felt in other relationships, and "my kids just adore her."

The two plan to marry in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware in September, followed by a ceremony in York for friends and family next June, they said.

They're marrying at the beach because it'll be legal, but they want to renew their vows at home even if Pennsylvania won't recognize it, Molina said.

And while the federal court's decision doesn't provide any rights for couples like Molina and Smeltzer, who will live outside the state in which they legally married, they were still "ecstatic" to hear the news.

"It still doesn't feel real," Molina said. "There are a lot of questions for us about the legality in Pennsylvania and how that's going to work, but it's an amazing feeling."

- Reach Christina Kauffman at ckauffman@yorkdispatch.com.