Sun, Jun 28, 2015 - Page 1 News List

US same-sex couples revel in wake of ruling


Benjamin Moore and Tadd Roberts on Friday wore matching tuxedos to the county clerk’s office in Louisville to capitalize on the US Supreme Court’s ruling that same-sex marriages should be recognized.

They were among a rush of couples across the US’ south and Midwest who held spontaneous ceremonies. They were young and old, they wore gowns and suits or T-shirts and jeans, they waved flags that read: “love wins.”

“It’s just been incredible and historic and amazing to live this moment,” Moore said after getting commemorative photographs of him and Roberts with their license.

However, the reaction was not as welcoming in some of the 14 states that had been the last holdouts against same-sex marriages, creating confusion as some officials embraced the ruling and others resisted it.

In rural Alabama, Pike County Probate Judge Wes Allen said he would stop issuing all marriage licenses to avoid having to give them to homosexual couples.

Allen said Alabama law gives judges the option of granting licenses, and “I have chosen not to perform that function.”

Governors in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas also railed against the ruling. Clerks in some of the affected states refused to issue licenses, citing a three-week grace period allowed by the Supreme Court or forms now out of date that specify “bride” and “groom.”

However, by Friday afternoon, couples had received licenses in all but one of the 14 states, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

In Louisiana, where Republican Governor Bobby Jindal is running for the White House as a Christian, same-sex couples were turned away.

In Texas, many counties held off on issuing same-sex licenses until receiving guidance from Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton, who scolded the Supreme Court, but left counties in limbo for hours. The delay dragged on for hours in Houston, until the clerk relented and agreed not to wait for updated forms from the state.

Other clerks scrambled to issue licenses as couples rushed to their offices.

In Arkansas, Pulaski County Clerk Larry Crane held a hand to his heart after the court’s ruling.

“It is a special day,” he said. “I’m honored to be a part of it.”

Jessica Dent and Carolee Taylor held a ceremony a few blocks from the courthouse in Montgomery, Alabama.

“Never thought it would happen in our lifetime,” Taylor said.

Later, they returned to the courthouse to file their license, making them recognized as married in the state that had fought against efforts to legalize gay marriage. After a federal judge ruled earlier this year that the state’s gay marriage ban was unconstitutional, the Alabama Supreme Court directly ordered probate judges to stop issuing the licenses.

“We waited so long. When it came through, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate, the decision and our love,” said Dent, walking out of the courthouse holding a sign that read: “All love is equal.”

The Human Rights Campaign sent letters to the governors of the 14 affected states warning that delaying issuing marriage licenses would be unlawful.

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