Same-sex couple shares their journey as nation evolves on controversial issue

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. -- As the U.S. Supreme Court weighs two cases that will influence the future of same-sex marriage in the United States, two women who have been together for 40 years invited WPTV NewsChannel 5 to share their story.

On Wednesday, Shirley Herman and Joan Waitkevicz shared their journey as a same-sex couple with WPTV NewsChannel 5.

"Joanie is a doctor. I had an accounting practice in New York," Herman said. "My family, even though Joanie is a lady and not a guy and she is not Jewish, she's a doctor, so, she was soon accepted. She knew German so that helped. That was in 1973 and the rest is history."

"There are many people that get together and then at a certain point decide to get married. That's the way of our society now. And, I think that people who decide to get married often decide because of the dignity of it. They want to stand up in front of their family and all their friends and say, "This is my partner for life," Waitkevicz said.

Herman and Waitkevicz declared themselves married on their 20th anniversary and eventually wed in Massachusetts.

"Something very interesting happened. My mother, who hadn't gotten it for twenty years, that day realized that she hadn't lost a daughter, she gained one," Waitkevicz said.

"We got married in 2010 in Boston. Some of my gay friends and even straight friends said, "Did it make a difference?" And I said, you know, as a matter of fact it did," Herman said. "It's the dignity. I mean, I don't want someone to tell me that I'm less worthy and that I should have less."

Herman and Waitkevicz live in West Palm Beach.

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