By Trudy Ring
Originally published on Advocate.com May 25 2014 4:00 AM ET
With the three-day waiting period for marriages up, same-sex weddings began in earnest across Pennsylvania Friday and Saturday.
The first such wedding in Philadelphia took place early Friday morning on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Ashley Wilson and Lindsay Vandermay said their vows shortly after midnight, with about 30 friends and family members president, reports the Philadelphia Daily News.
“The idea of being the first couple to do this, we thought it was something special,” said Wilson. The two were one of the first couples to apply for a license Tuesday, after U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III struck down Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage. “I thought, ‘Let’s go before someone changes their mind,’” she said. But Wednesday, Gov. Tom Corbett announced he would not appeal Jones’s decision, and the two women got married the first moment they could, as Pennsylvania, unlike some other states, has a waiting period between the license application and the wedding, unless a judge waives it.
The first same-sex couple to marry in the state overall may have been Pamela VanHaitsma and Jess Garrity of Pittsburgh. They received a judicial waiver of the waiting period and married Wednesday, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
In what Garrity called “a happy coincidence,” the women had just had a commitment ceremony the previous weekend and planned to go to Maryland, which has marriage equality, for a legal marriage at some point. But Jones’s decision meant they could marry legally in their home state, and an Allegheny County judge waived the waiting period for them so they could be married Wednesday afternoon.
Harrisburg residents LaQuana Myrick and Stephanie Stewart had a happy coincidence as well. They had planned several months ago to have a commitment ceremony Saturday, but with Jones’s decision, they obtained a license, changed a few words in their vows, and were able to enter into a legally recognized marriage, reports The Patriot-News.
“I’d like to call it destiny,” Stewart told the newspaper. “It means it was meant for us to legally be married.” She added, “Today is an example that love should not be defined by our genders. [We’re] just two people that love each other and want to spend the rest of our lives together.”
Watch video of all three couples’ weddings below.