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Gay Couple Gets Married In Pennsylvania Despite Ban On Same-Sex Marriages

“Nothing is going to change, but now we’re gonna have a piece of paper so everyone else recognizes it.”

1. Loreen Bloodgood and Alicia Terrizzi were married Wednesday morning in Pennsylvania.

They are one of two same-sex couples that applied for and received marriage licenses Tuesday morning in Montgomery County.

CBS Philly/ Credit: Brad Segall

2. Same-sex marriages and civil unions are not recognized by the state of Pennsylvania and have been banned for over 17 years.

Tim Shaffer / Reuters

3. Bloodgood and her partner have been together for 18 years and have two children. Terrizzi told NBC Philly:


We’ve been a family for 18 years and we’re no different than anybody else, and finally it’s recognized. It doesn’t make any difference to us. Nothing is going to change, but now we’re gonna have a piece of paper so everyone else recognizes it.

4. The marriage licenses were issued a day after Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes said he would grant licenses to any gay couples who wanted them.

In other states with same-sex marriage bans, licenses issued by defiant local officials have been later voided by courts. Hanes wanted to come down, “on the right side of history and the law.”

5. Bruce Hanes wrote in a statement:


For the first time since I took office in January 2008, a same sex couple contacted me last week indicating their intention of applying for a marriage license in Montgomery County. In the ensuing days, my solicitor, Michael Clarke, and I, in conjunction with county solicitor Ray McGarry, studied every aspect of the law, including recent Supreme Court decisions and statements by the Pennsylvania Attorney General.

Based upon the advice of Mr. Clarke, my own analysis of the law and mindful of the Attorney General’s belief that Pennsylvania’s marriage laws are unconstitutional, I decided to come down on the right side of history and the law, and was prepared to issue a license to the couple. However, the women for reasons of their own decided this morning not to seek the marriage license at this time.

When I took the oath of office 19 months ago, I swore to uphold the U.S. and the Pennsylvania Constitutions. Article 1 Section 1 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, aptly entitled “Inherent rights of mankind,” says “all men are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent and indefeasible rights, among which is “pursuing their own happiness.”

Article 1, Section 26 of the Constitution says, “Neither the Commonwealth nor any political subdivision thereof shall deny to any person the enjoyment of any civil right, nor discriminate against any person in the exercise of any civil right.”

Furthermore, Article 1 Section 28 says, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania because of the sex of the individual.”

Had the couple sought the license today, I would have issued it and wished them all the freedom, independence, happiness and rights that our Commonwealth’s Constitution purports to grant to them.

6. The Pennsylvania ban is being challenged by an ACLU lawsuit this month in federal court.

The Scranton Times-Tribune, Butch Comegys / AP

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Sarah Karlan is the Deputy LGBT Editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Sarah Karlan at sarah.karlan@buzzfeed.com.
 
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