Gay couples wed on historic day as conservatives resist
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Benjamin Moore and Tadd Roberts wore matching tuxedos to the county clerk's office in Louisville to get married Friday, and the mayor greeted them with a bottle of champagne.
They were among a rush of gay couples across the South and Midwest who celebrated the Supreme Court's ruling legalizing same-sex marriage with spontaneous weddings. They were young and old, they wore gowns and suits or T-shirts and jeans, they kissed and waved flags that read "love wins."
"It's just been incredible and historic and amazing to live this moment," Moore said, after the mayor took commemorative photos of him and Roberts getting their license.
But the reaction wasn't so welcoming in some of the 14 states that had been the last holdouts against same-sex marriages.
In rural Alabama, the heart of the battle against gay marriage, Pike County Probate Judge Wes Allen said he would stop issuing all marriage licenses to avoid having to give them to gay 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. And 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affected states refused to issue licenses, citing a three-week grace period allowed by the Supreme Court or forms now out of date that specify "bridge" and "groom."
Other clerks scrambled to issue licenses as gay couples rushed to their offices.
In Arkansas, Pulaski County Clerk Larry Crane held a hand to his heart after the Supreme Court's ruling.
"It is a special day," he said, choking up. "I'm honored to be a part of it."
Jessica Dent and Carolee Taylor got married a few blocks from the courthouse in Montgomery, Alabama.
"Never thought it would happen in our lifetime," said Taylor.
After their ceremony, they returned to the courthouse to file their license, making them officially married in the conservative state that had fought back against efforts to legalize gay marriage. After a federal judge ruled earlier this year that the state's gay marriage ban was unconstitutional, about 500 same-sex couples were married before 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 said "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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