Phyllis and Kathy tied the knot in an outdoor wedding ceremony Wednesday morning.
As the song “At Last” played in the background, a family member led them over to where they would exchange their vows before friends, family and Delaware Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle.
For Riggle, it was the 199th marriage she has performed, but it was her first same-sex ceremony.
“I’m just thrilled to be part of this,” Riggle said. “I did have a couple that called me the day that it legally passed, but they wanted it within two hours, and I was still working (at her day job).”
“We’ve been together as partners for 14 years,” Kathy said of Phyllis before the ceremony. “Today is our anniversary.”
Phyllis and Kathy declined to give their last names because of “haters,” they said.
On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states cannot keep same-sex couples from marrying and must legally recognize their unions. Local judges say they have been issuing a couple of marriage licenses to same-sex couples weekly, but it is unknown how many ceremonies in Delaware County have been performed since the ruling.
“I just never thought I’d see it in my lifetime,” said Phyllis, a breast cancer survivor. “I’m very blessed to see it before I’m 60.”
“It’s a lifetime dream, and now we will be treated just like every person that has the opportunity to be married, and to enjoy the benefits of marriage,” Kathy said.
“Phyllis and Kathy will join their lives together, two beautiful spirits sharing the most sacred and tender of human relationships,” Riggle said during the ceremony. “Today, we celebrate an expression of love. Love is perhaps the greatest gift that God has given us. It is inherent in our nature, and our soul’s true purpose in life is to love one another. We can endure many things in this world, but without being able to share and feel love, it would be an empty shell.”
The women wrote their own vows.
“We wrote vows to each other a month after we were together, because we just felt that strongly towards each other,” Phyllis said. “To bring those vows to fruition is just amazing, exciting and overwhelming.”
“I am marrying my best friend — it is the most exciting statement for a day that we thought would never come,” Kathy said as part of her vows to Phyllis. “Our life together was meant to be, a life that began with our friendship and built with our love. I want you to know how lucky I am that this day, our wedding day, has become a reality.”
“For all that you mean to me, you are the song I hear, the rhythm in steps, the beat in my heart,” Phyllis said. “My vow to you is that I always be your song, our love become a melody together forever.”
Riggle then asked each if they would agree to be life partners, loves and best friends, and the couple exchanged rings.
“By the authority invested in me by the state of Ohio, I now pronounce you married,” Riggle said.
Phyllis and Kathy kissed to applause, posed for photos, and invited their guests to lunch, all with big smiles.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.
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