Same-sex marriage ruling causes mixed reactions
SHAMOKIN - Same-sex couples across Pennsylvania gained the right to marry on Tuesday, but the ruling has confused some and elated others.
Lorie King and her fiancée, Teresa Kurrell, experienced disappointment at the Snyder County Courthouse Wednesday when Snyder County Prothonotary Teresa J. Berger declined to issue them a marriage license.
King said Berger cited the possibility that Gov. Tom Corbett might potentially appeal the decision, which would cause King and Kurrell to lose the $50 they paid for the license. According to King, Berger wanted to wait until June 1, when the 10-day appeal window would close, to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples to avoid disappointment.
Later in the day, after Corbett issued a statement confirming he would not appeal the decision, King and Kurrell returned to Berger's office and were granted their marriage license.
"We were really, really excited when we found out we could get our marriage license (Wednesday)," said King. "We never thought this was going to be possible."
King and Kurrell will legally wed June 8 in a small ceremony.
June 8 is also the one year anniversary of their civil union, which they celebrated in front of more than 100 people. They never believed Pennsylvania would grant same-sex couples the right to marry.
The women, who have been together for 9 1/2 years, have two sons, aged 15 and 11.
King said her sons were one of the biggest reason she is happy Pennsylvania finally recognizes same-sex marriage.
"My younger son has been getting bullied at school because I'm gay," said King. "He's glad that we're finally going to get married - it's legal and now kids can't make fun of him."
Shamokin Mayor William Milbrand became caught up in the same-sex marriage whirlwind when he agreed to perform a ceremony for a man he knows.
When the News-Item contacted Milbrand for comment, Milbrand was shocked to find out the wedding featured two grooms.
"I didn't know he was marrying another guy. He just asked me to marry him," responded Milbrand. "I kind of have mixed emotions about all that and I need to sit down. I need to think about that."
Ultimately, the couple found a different ordained person to perform the ceremony.
A Northumberland County native had a role in the lead-up to Tuesday's historic decision. Alicia Terrizzi, an Elysburg native and Southern Columbia Area graduate, and her partner, Loreen, were the first same-sex couple to marry July 24 after obtaining a marriage license, issued by the Montgomery County register and recorder at the time in defiance of state law. The couple live in Limerick with their two sons.
"It's the day we've been waiting for, and we're glad it's finally here," said Terrizzi.
According to Terrizzi she and her wife decided to seek out a marriage license even though she was told her marriage might later be invalidated by a higher court system because she believes that ultimately every law that forbids same-sex marriage eventually be overturned.
"Every single state is going to be declared unconstitutional because it is," she said. "It has taken awhile for people to wrap their minds around it but it is unconstitutional. Once that ball is rolling it's not going to stop."
Terrizzi said she and her wife unintentionally became the face of gay marriage in Pennsylvania after their wedding last July. Since then they've embraced the chance to support other couples by speaking at rallies and attending equality banquets and dinners.
"We hope that seeing that our family is a regular average joe family has helped changed some attitudes of people that have had a negative opinion about gay marriage," said Terrizzi. "We're just really happy and are looking forward to the day when every state allows anyone to get married."