Pa. gay couple marries as county defies state ban
UPDATED: Montgomery County, outside Philadelphia, has issued five marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Dee Spagnuola and her partner, Sasha Ballen, were the first to arrive Wednesday morning. With the license in front of her, Spagnuolo said she asked, "Is this really the first same-sex marriage license in all of the commonwealth?'
"They said 'yes' and everyone started crying. I think the magnitude of it sort of hit," Spagnuolo said. "It was exciting and overwhelming, and Sasha and I both felt we couldn't have been prouder to live in a county that really decided that it wanted to be on the right side of history."
Spagnuolo and Ballen plan to marry in a small ceremony, with their family, on Sunday.
Two women have already been married in a religious ceremony. Alicia Terrizzi said she and Loreen Bloodgood didn't set out to be pioneers but simply wanted to take advantage of the opportunity offered by Montgomery County officials. The 45-year-old Terrizzi and 40-year-old Bloodgood live in Pottstown with their two sons.
"I am going by my lights here. I am going by what I think is right," stated Montgomery County Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes. He began issuing the licenses Wednesday morning, a day after signaling his willingness to do so.
Hanes said he doesn't believe the state statute limiting marriage licenses to heterosexual couples complies with the Pennsylvania Constitution.
In other states with same-sex marriage bans, licenses issued by defiant local officials have been voided by courts. County Commission Chairman Josh Shapiro says marriage equality will come to Pennsylvania. He says it's just a question of how long it will take.
The ACLU is challenging Pennsylvania's marriage law based on this summer's U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down parts of the Defense of Marriage Act. The local lawsuit is pending in federal court.
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