Pa. gay couple marries as Montgomery County defies state ban
By The Associated Press
Published: Wednesday, July 24, 2013, 11:33 a.m.
NORRISTOWN, Pa. — Two women were wed in a religious ceremony Wednesday morning after getting a marriage license from county officials who defied a Pennsylvania law banning same-sex unions.
Alicia Terrizzi, 45, said that she and Loreen Bloodgood have been together for 17 years and wanted to take the opportunity offered by Montgomery County officials.
“We've been waiting a long time for this,” Terrizzi said. “We're not setting out to be pioneers. We don't think our family is any different than anybody else.”
Terrizzi, a teacher, and Bloodgood, a 40-year-old consultant, live in Pottstown with their two sons.
Montgomery County officials issued two marriage licenses to lesbian couples Wednesday morning, a day after signaling their willingness to do so.
Pennsylvania is the only northeastern state without same-sex marriages or civil unions. In other states that ban same-sex marriage, licenses issued by defiant local officials have later been overturned by courts and the unions voided.
The Pennsylvania ban is being challenged by an ACLU lawsuit filed this month in federal court.
The chairman of the Montgomery County Commission predicted that marriage equality will come to Pennsylvania. “It's a question of how long it will take, and what will be the legal process to achieve it. But we know we will be a part of that,” Josh Shapiro said.
The licenses were issued a day after Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes said he would grant them to gay couples because he wanted to come down “on the right side of history and the law.”
The suburban county is the state's third most populous and considerably wealthier than most. All four women who applied to marry Wednesday have master's degrees, according to their applications. The other license went to Sasha Esther Ballen, 38, and Diana Lynn Spagnuolo, 39, of Wynnewood.
Two women doctors had considered applying for a license Tuesday, but changed course after their lawyer talked to the ACLU, which raised concerns about the alternate strategy, since the unions could be overturned in a court challenge.
Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Ferman, a Republican, did not return phone messages this week about her stance on licenses being issued to same-sex couples.
Shapiro and Hanes are Democrats, as is state Attorney General Kathleen Kane, who has announced that she will not defend the state's gay marriage ban. That means that Republican Gov. Tom Corbett and his legal team are left to defend the ACLU lawsuit.
The Rev. Craig Andrussier, a nondenominational minister licensed to perform weddings in Pennsylvania, said he married Terrizzi and Bloodgood in a brief ceremony in a park. Only the women and their sons were present, but they have a larger ceremony planned next week with family and friends, he said.
He called Wednesday's ceremony something “they can tell their grandchildren about.”
“I feel great. I feel honored,” Andrussier said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Abruzzo, Ferretti affirmed for Corbett cabinet
- Philadelphia senator’s bill restricts anti-abortion protesters
- Painting displayed in Johnstown honors fallen Pa. National Guard aviators
- Foes claim Corbett plan to finance highway upgrades requires a tax increase
- Penn State to add cameras at main campus to enhance security