Magalia residents Brenda and Lynda Ziviello-Howell consider themselves just like any other married couple. The pair were legally married in 2008, during California's brief window of opportunity for same sex couples. " When we were allowed to get married, woohoo , if we weren't ever out the door fast", said Magalia resident Brenda Ziviello-Howell.
The couple's marriage is still legally recognized in California, but they recently learned just how much their marriage differs from straight couples. After financial trouble, the pair was forced to file bankruptcy, but the U.S. trustee, which oversees those cases, denied the couple the right to file as spouses. " It was just another stab in the heart, not that we haven't dealt with that our entire relationship", said Brenda. Her wife Lynda adds, " We felt in our minds that because we were married, that we would be able to do that".
The couple decided to fight back, and after an eight month battle, a bankruptcy court ultimately ruled the joint bankruptcy could go forward. It's a decision the couple's lawyer says is a small step in the right direction. " Each little victory is essentially tearing down one brick of injustice and inequality and I think we took down one little brick in our case", said Brenda and Lynda's lawyer Joe Feist.
The federal government has yet to appeal the decision, and while it's likely to be challenged, the couple says they will continue to fight. " No, we're not gonna give up", said Lynda. Brenda adds " I'm gonna keep fighting it, she's my wife, period".