Video: Local LGBT Community Celebrates Marriage Equality

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  1. Athens Welcomes Same Sex Marriage Ruling Ben Postlethwait 1:21

To read the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage click here: Gay Marriage Decision

As many across the nation are reacting to the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage, it’s clear that Athens County was ready for the decision.

The Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling declares nationwide, states cannot keep same-sex couples from marrying.

“Attention Ohio University, we can get married today!” Delfin Bautista, Director of Ohio University’s LGBTQ center, yelled into a mega phone in Baker University Center earlier today.

“I think it is a celebration across the board. Students knowing that their families and their relationships are going to be respected,” Bautista said. “And those who are not students, our relationships are going to be respected too,” he added.

It found that states that bar same-sex marriage would be violating the 14th Amendment.

Former Athens County Common Pleas Judge and WOUB’s general manager Tom Hodson says that Justice Anthony Kennedy’s swing vote made a big impact in this ruling

“Really Justice Kennedy elevated the status of marriage, he refuted the argument of people who said that having same sex marriage would diminish heterosexual marriage.”

Some LGBTQ members feel their marriage rights should have been handed to them long ago.

“Marriage has been the fight the LGBT community fights for, and over the last few years I haven’t been convinced that’s the fight we should have been fighting,” Justin Rudnick, Athens LGBTQ member said.

But, Rudnick is thankful it has finally happened and is expecting more changes to come.

In Athens County, Probate Judge Robert Stewart says the office ready and willing to accept applications and perform same-sex marriages.

He said that he received a go ahead from the Ohio Association of Probate Judges, but common sense ruled.

“I suppose we are on our own to apply our own common sense and intelligence, the Supreme Court decision was not ambiguous. It was very clear.”

Hocking County officials say the county  has updated the marriage application form. Scott Powell, judge for the Meigs County Court of Common Pleas, says they are in the process of revising forms for the computer system, which they are trying to complete as soon as possible. The courts from both counties do not have any prediction of the number of gay applicants in the near future.

Both counties said that gay applicants will be treated in the same way as the rest.

Any couple, no matter of the gender, can apply for marriage license in Hocking County and Meigs County if at least one of the two parties is a local resident or the marriage is performed in the county where the license is issued.

A couple should apply for the marriage license together in person. In general, they should bring documents, such as a proof of identification (driver’s license, state I.D., passport/VISA or military I.D.), a proof of residency (utility bill or statement with the current address), a proof of marriage history (a certified or file-stamped copy of the most recent divorce or dissolution decree), and etc. The application fee is $60 (CASH ONLY) for Hocking County and $70 for Meigs County (payable in cash).

For detailed information concerning application for marriage license in Hocking County, click here and Meigs County, click here.

Update: 12:45 PM The LGBTQ Center at Ohio University celebrated the recent Supreme Court ruling of the nationwide equality marriage law.

Dalfin Bautista, director of OU’s LGBTQ center, made sure the university was well aware of the marriage equality law by going up and down Baker Center escalators with a bullhorn shouting, “We can get married!”

Bautista has been in a 13-year relationship with his partner and is ecstatic about the news.

“It’s reinvigorating,” Bautista said. “We know this isn’t the end. There’s a lot of work to be done, but it’s an exciting, celebratory event that United States citizens and all of Americans can be treated equally and fairly under the law.”

Tonight at 5 p.m. the LGBTQ community will be celebrating the Supreme Court decision at Athens Uncorked, and marriages can be performed for those wishing to tie the knot.  All are welcomed.

Update: 1:52 PM Same-sex marriages are underway in Ohio. Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley performed a simple ceremony less than two hours after the court’s decision was announced.

Whaley told Tim Walsh and Kery Gray: “In hard times, love offers hope.” The casually dressed pair repeated vows and moved their rings from their right hands to their left ring fingers.

Whaley told them: “I declare that you are now husband and husband according to the laws of the state of Ohio.”

They sealed the deal with a kiss and a hug, then ended the five-minute ceremony by sharing a celebratory cupcake provided by the mayor.

Courts around the state say they’re ready to begin performing same-sex marriages. But so far those in Cleveland and Toledo say they haven’t seen a wave of couples yet.

Update: 1:42 PM Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has released a statement about the Supreme Court ruling:

“The Attorney General’s Office has an obligation and duty to defend the constitutionality of Ohio laws, including constitutional amendments passed by Ohio voters. Ohio’s involvement in this case has been to defend the voter-passed amendment. While Ohio argued that the Supreme Court should let this issue ultimately be decided by the voters, the Court has now made its decision.”

Update: 12:14 PM Athens County Probate Court is accepting marriage license applications from same sex couples but Judge Robert Stewart is awaiting higher approval to begin granting legal marriage licenses.

Update: 11:30 AM Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio says he welcomes the high court’s decision “as a father.”

Portman in 2013 announced he was changing his position to support same-sex marriage in the aftermath of his son Will’s disclosure to him and his wife that he is gay.

Portman says he would have preferred that the issue be resolved by the democratic process because that builds a lasting consensus. But he says he hopes the ruling means “we can move past the division and polarization the issue has caused.”

Some conservatives opposed to same-sex marriage have said they won’t support Portman in his 2016 re-election bid.

Update: 10:28 AM Equality Ohio executive director Elyzabeth Holford has released the following statement about today’s marriage equality victory at the Supreme Court.

“Today the Supreme Court affirmed what we have always known: we are equal.

Today, across America, the law of the land finally matches our truth: we are equal.

Today, as an attorney, an advocate, and a woman deeply in love I can say to my fiancée, my family, and my friends: we are equal.

Yes, we are celebrating. And Equality Ohio will continue working for legal and lived equality across this great state.

We work for fully inclusive nondiscrimination laws. We work for economic justice, for racial justice, for transgender justice, and for issues that affect our aging and youth populations. With today’s victory, our work is refreshed and renewed and re-invigorated.”

In addition, Why Marriage Matters Ohio campaign manager Chris Geggie has released the following statement.

“Today is the day Ohio—and America—has been waiting for. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the freedom to marry for all loving and committed couples. We are overjoyed that the decades of struggle—by millions of LGBTQ people and allies—have come to fruition. All loving and committed couples now have the freedom to marry.

Today’s Supreme Court ruling caps many years of struggle and a long journey for gay and lesbian Americans toward the freedom to marry and equality. The case for the freedom to marry shone through at every turn in the argument, undimmed and undeniable, and it was clear to a majority of justices, as it has been to a cascade of lower courts and a national majority for marriage, that there is simply no justifiable reason or evidence to justify perpetuating marriage discrimination any longer. Gay and lesbian couples, their children and families, and millions of Americans now enjoy the same freedoms as their fellow Americans, with the Constitution’s guarantees of the freedom to marry and equality under the law. America now has the freedom to marry.”

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court has declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the United States.

Gay and lesbian couples already can marry in 36 states and the District of Columbia. The court’s ruling on Friday means the remaining 14 states, in the South and Midwest, will have to stop enforcing their bans on same-sex marriage.

The outcome is the culmination of two decades of Supreme Court litigation over marriage, and gay rights generally.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, just as he did in the court’s previous three major gay rights cases dating back to 1996.