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Marriage Equality

PHOTOS: Wedding Bells (Finally) Ring in Nevada

PHOTOS: Wedding Bells (Finally) Ring in Nevada


After days of legal wrangling, same-sex couples began marrying Thursday evening in Nevada.

A county clerk in Carson City, Nev., issued the state's first marriage license to a same-sex couple just after 4:30 p.m. today, according to the Reno Journal-Gazette.


Less than an hour later, in Clark County, Theodore Small (left) and Antioco Carrillo, two of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit that ultimately brought marriage equality to the state, became the first same-sex couple married in the historic nuptial locale of Las Vegas, advocacy group Freedom Nevada reports.

After days of legal back-and-forth -- including a clerical error from the Supreme Court and a quickly withdrawn request to halt marriages from the antigay coalition attempting to defend the ban in court -- marriage equality has finally come to the Silver State, making it the 27th U.S. state, in addition to the District of Columbia, where same-sex couples can marry.

A federal judge in Las Vegas Thursday evening issued a permanent injunction that bars the state from enforcing its voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, reports the Journal-Gazette, solidifying the legality of marriage equality and clearing the way for same-sex couples to marry statewide. Earlier this week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a scathing ruling striking down marriage bans in Nevada and Idaho, writing that marriage by same-sex couples will not "drive opposite-sex couples to sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll."

Freedom Nevada has compiled a list of county clerks' offices throughout the state, noting that same-sex couples can apply for marriage licenses statewide, but advising couples to contact their local clerk's office before heading there, as each county's operating hours differ.

As early as Wednesday, same-sex couples were already gathering at clerks' offices awaiting the final order that would allow them to marry, posting photos that captured the anxious excitement:

4coupleswaitx633_0 Four couples wait their turns.

456876326x633_0 Thomas Topovski (left) and Jefferson Ruck

RELATED: Unwinding the Twisted Road to Marriage Equality in Nevada

456876340x633_0 David Parry (left) and Morgan Floyd

456876344x633_0 Cathy Grimes (left) and Tara Traynor hoped for good news at the Clark County Clerk's office Wednesday...

Then returned to the Las Vegas office Thursday, where Freedom Nevada reports they were sixth same-sex couple in line to receive a marriage license. Here's how the couple looked at that point:

456873756x633_0 Nevada state senator Kelvin Atkinson (left) and Sherwood Howard got engaged on live TV Tuesday after news broke that marriage equality was on its way to the state.

Earlier today, several counties in West Virginia began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples after state officials announced they would respect a ruling from a federal appeals court that struck down Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage and stop defending its own similar law.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday let stand a series of lower court rulings affirming marriage equality in Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Indiana, same-sex couples have begun marrying in each of those states. And since the lower court rulings came from federal appeals courts that hold jurisdiction over several other states, same-sex couples in West Virginia and Colorado have also started marrying after state officials interpereted the decisions as directives to overturn their own states' bans on same-sex marriage.

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