SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — President Obama's pledge of support for gay marriage was both long-awaited and dreaded for people in the Ozarks, depending on what side of the issue you're on.
Gay marriage is legal in just six states and Washington D.C., but this is most certainly viewed as a move toward changing that.
Amy McMasters and Jody Lawrence describe themselves as just your average married couple. They're pet-lovers, board game-players, church-goers, and maybe what makes them most compatible: "we're kind of just dorks and we're just dorks together," McMasters says, both laughing.
The only thing that makes the women less of an average married couple is they're not married, not legally.
"I've always said it's just a piece of paper when it comes right down to it," so they got married without it.
"My mother got really excited about it. We had, what, eight people at our wedding?" McMasters asks Lawrence. "And she bought a cake that served forty," she continues, laughing again.
The wedding and the lifelong commitment that follows is, for them, a real marriage. But that piece of paper McMasters mentioned has been sorely missed.
"Where the problem is is if something happens to me she doesn't get my social security, something happens to her I don't get her social security, we pay higher taxes because we can't file jointly," the pair explain.
They agree having President Obama on their side could make a difference. Many in the local religious community think it makes a difference as well.
"My concern is this is just another part of the gay and lesbian agenda to ultimately transform what American culture is and impose their values on the rest of America and also the religious communities," says George Wood, the superintendent of Assemblies of God, headquartered in Springfield.
Wood worries gay marriage is just the first step.
"Will there be a federal regulation that suggests religious institutions such as colleges for example will have to have a requirement that does not permit them to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation? And if they do they will lose federal funding?" he wonders.
"Everybody's entitled to their own opinion," says Lawrence.
"They're entitled to mine too," McMasters responds, and they both laugh.
In their opinion asking to be average isn't asking for much at all, especially today, their third anniversary.
The bishop of the Springfield-Cape Girardeau Catholic Diocese sent us a statement.
Bishop James Johnston says "it is regrettable the President has chosen to endorse the movement to re-define marriage... Equating same sex unions with true marriage is unjust, and will lead to a further deconstruction of our nation's culture and well-being."