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Gay Couples Win Dream Weddings, But Lack Legal Standing

Gay Couples Win Dream Weddings, But Lack Legal Standing


Three same-sex couples were among the 11 winners of a New York City hotel's dream wedding contest, but only one will be able to have the marriage recognized in their home state.

Same-sex couples from Florida, Ohio, and New York were winners in the Crowne Plaza's Marry Me 11-11-11 Wedding Contest on Facebook, for weddings to be held yesterday, a date that's supposed to be lucky for love, the Associated Press reports. Florida and Ohio both have constitutional amendments prohibiting recognition of gay unions, but New York State passed a marriage equality law last summer.

The couple from Florida, Sheila Barnett and Melissa Patrick, spoke with the AP before leaving for New York. "I don't like it," Patrick said of their home state's marriage ban.

Contest entrants wrote narratives describing their relationships; Barnett and Patrick called theirs "two women, true love, awesome story and it's just that simple." The public then voted for the winners on Facebook.

Barnett and Patrick met 20 years ago in high school, where they both played on the softball team, moved on to separate lives that included relationships with men, but fell in love when they reunited last year.

"I fell in love with a person, for who she is and everything about her," Barnett told the AP. "Not because she was a female."

Patrick added, "Love doesn't discriminate, I'll tell you that. You're able to fall in love with anyone if it's right."

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