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Pa. same-sex couples get marriage licenses

Tamara Davis, left, and Nicola Cucinotta snap a photograph of their marriage license they obtained at a Montgomery County office despite a state law banning such unions, Wednesday, July 24, 2013, in Norristown, Pa. Five same-sex couples have obtained marriage licenses in the suburban Philadelphia county that is defying a state ban on such unions. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

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By The Associated Press
Wednesday, July 24, 2013, 7:12 p.m.

NORRISTOWN — At least five same-sex couples obtained marriage licenses Wednesday in a suburban Philadelphia county that is defying a state ban on such unions.

Alicia Terrizzi and Loreen Bloodgood, both of Pottstown, were the only couple to marry right away, exchanging vows in a park before a minister and their two young sons.

“We're not setting out to be pioneers. We don't think our family is any different than anybody else,” said Terrizzi, a 45-year-old teacher. “We've been waiting a long time for this.”

The licenses issued in Montgomery County are believed to be the first to same-sex couples in Pennsylvania, the only northeastern state without same-sex marriages or civil unions.

A 1996 Pennsylvania law defines marriage as a civil contract in which a man and a woman take each other as husband and wife, and it says same-sex marriages, even ones entered legally elsewhere, are void in Pennsylvania.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit this month seeking to overturn the law.

Officials in the affluent and increasingly Democratic county signaled this week that they nevertheless would grant licenses to same-sex couples.

The county officials and the same-sex couples who marry could find themselves in court if Republican Gov. Tom Corbett or other state officials challenge their actions.

In other states with same-sex marriage bans, licenses issued by defiant local officials have been voided by courts.

“Today I feel like a full citizen,” said Marcus Saitschenko, 52, of Philadelphia, who came to the suburban courthouse with his partner of 22 years, James Goldstein. “We're just hoping that the state will recognize it.”

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