HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — It came just in time for wedding season.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of same-sex couples who live in Pennsylvania are rushing to get marriage licenses or celebrate the sudden recognition of their out-of-state marriages in their home state.
The party planning and vow taking is in full swing now that Gov. Tom Corbett ended his fight Wednesday to stop same-sex marriage in the state, allowing a growing number of couples to proceed with their wedding plans with greater peace of mind. Pennsylvania is now the 19th state to recognize same-sex marriages and the last northeastern U.S. state to do so.
Washington, D.C., also permits it.
Partners of nearly 24 years, Stephen Miller and Jim Devaty of suburban Pittsburgh plan to get married next week. They applied for their license online Tuesday after U.S. District Court Judge John E. Jones III struck down the law in a strongly worded opinion.
“I’m in shock,” Miller said Wednesday. “In a way, I never thought I’d live to see the day when Jim and I could get married.”
They’ll crack open a bottle of champagne they’ve been saving and plan a gathering for family and friends. They’re not sure where yet, but their son, 6-year-old Aiden, suggested the backyard.
Shari Gross of Erie said she and Judy Zurinski, her partner of almost six years, are legally married in New York. But their marriage in New York only involved a few friends, and they promised everyone else a big party once their home state recognized their union.
“We promised everybody that when we had equality we were going to have a party,” said Gross, 51. “So we’re going to have a party.”
The governor’s decision means that same-sex marriage will remain legal in Pennsylvania, without the threat that a higher court will reinstate the ban.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs — one widow, 11 couples and one couple’s teenage daughters — said another party has never been allowed to appeal in the state’s place.
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