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The Villages
Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Villages Rainbow Family founder applauds Supreme Court ruling on DOMA

Wendy O’Donnell and Peggy Garvin are co-founders of the Rainbow Family & Friends group in The Villages.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s striking down of the Defense of Marriage Act, was a long time coming for activists like Peggy Garvin who co-founded the Rainbow Family & Friends group in The Villages.

Garvin was speaking today before 100 federal employees in a gay pride event at Coleman Federal Correctional Complex in Sumter County.

The high court struck down a key part of the federal DOMA, declaring that same-sex couples who are legally married deserve equal rights to the benefits under federal law as married couples.

“I never thought I would be speaking to a group of federal employees on the day the Supreme Court would strike down DOMA,” Garvin said.

For Garvin, like many in the gay community, it’s been a long, often difficult road.

She and her partner Wendy O’Donnell were married in a church in San Diego 22 years ago.

Attitudes have changed greatly since that day 22 years ago.

Her topic at Coleman today was about  PFLAG — Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.

“I reminded them about how PFLAG started,” Garvin said.

The idea for PFLAG began in 1972 when Jeanne Manford marched with her son in New York’s Christopher Street Liberation Day March, the precursor to today’s Pride parade. That fateful day, many gay and lesbian people approached Jeanne during the parade and begged her to talk to their parents. That’s when she decided to launch a support group.

While today’s high court ruling is to be celebrated, Garvin said the struggle is still far from over.

“A gay couple still can’t get married in Florida. That won’t happen until Florida changes its constitution,” Garvin said.

You can learn more about the Rainbow Family and Friends at:


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