Dozens of same-sex couples who obtained marriage licenses on Monday rushed to tie the knot at chapels, parks, and beaches across Massachusetts on Thursday as the end of the three-day waiting period required by state matrimonial law led to a marathon of same-sex weddings.
The Reverend Kim Crawford Harvie had barely retreated down the aisle with her wife of five minutes when she donned her white robes and got back to work at Arlington Street Church, marrying gay couples in assembly-line fashion. "OK, I'm ready for my next couple!" said Harvie, 46, who married her partner of seven years, Kem Morehead, at the Unitarian Universalist church. The church in Boston's Back Bay planned to marry nearly 50 couples on Thursday.
Massachusetts law establishes a three-day waiting period between applying for a marriage license and getting married. However, dozens of couples obtained a court waiver of the waiting period and got married promptly on Monday, as Massachusetts became the first state in the country to allow same-sex couples to wed.
The new round of nuptials came as Gov. Mitt Romney took the first steps toward blocking town clerks from issuing licenses to out-of-state gay couples, which the Republican governor says is prohibited by state law. Attorney General Tom Reilly said the governor's office referred a few cases to him, but he would not say whether he planned to prosecute the couples or the clerks.
The legal maneuverings did not stop out-of-state gay couples from saying their "I do's" on Thursday.
Provincetown hosted the weddings of couples from as far away as Florida. In Northampton, Joan and Kim Williams became "legally recognized life partners" near a bubbling fountain in Look Park. Dressed in blue suits, the couple of 13 years held hands and exchanged vows before their 4-year-old daughter, 1-year-old son, and Kim's parents. "In my lifetime I never envisioned this as a possibility," said Kim, 48. "We've been really overwhelmed by this."
It was a moment that her father, Jack Arbuckle, also never imagined. "Thirteen years ago I was adamantly opposed to this," he said. "But as I've grown older and wiser, I've also grown more accepting."
At the Arlington Street Church, Rabbi Howard Berman presided over the wedding of David Wakely, 59, and Lewis Stein, 57. "Marriage is a vital social institution," Berman said, reading from the landmark supreme judicial court decision that legalized gay marriage in Massachusetts. "The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support; it brings stability to our society."