Clark County grants its first same sex marriages - News, Weather & Sports

Clark County grants its first same sex marriages

Pastor Tracy Patton performed the ceremony for  Brad Smith and William Villegas. Pastor Tracy Patton performed the ceremony for Brad Smith and William Villegas.
Janet Pate Janet Pate
Danielle Woods Danielle Woods
Hilary Hannah Hilary Hannah
Barbara Haas Barbara Haas

JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WAVE) - Thousands of couples across the Hoosier State wasted no time after Wednesday's landmark ruling by the federal court decision to overturn the state's ban on same sex marriage. 

Across the state, county clerks offices were rushing to figure out how to handle the ruling, along with all the calls and questions that came with it. "I was scrambling to get an opinion from my county attorney," explained Clark County Clerk Barbara Haas.

[PREVIOUS STORY: Same-sex couples begin marrying in southern IN after judge strikes down ban]

With same sex couples waiting, Haas got an e-mail between 3:30 and 4 p.m. from the Indiana Attorney General asking to respect the judge's order. Haas said, "When I was elected clerk, I swore to uphold the constitution in the state of Indiana and I will do that and if that's the law, we will do it."

Among those getting the word at the Clark County courthouse? Pastor Tracy Patton and her partner Christy Driskell.  Patton said, "You're excited, you're nervous and you're scared it's all of the above." 

The couple said they have been together four years. "We had our own ceremony three years ago in front of God and family and friends," Patton said, "but to have that legal paper gives us the benefits that a lot of people take for granted." Patton was talking about things like Social Security benefits and hospitalization rights.

Patton offered to marry the first couple getting a license Wednesday, Brad Smith and William Villegas.

"I'm really excited," Smith said, "I'm about to explode." Still he was worried about a stay or an appeal. "I want to make sure that we're official and recognized by the state," he said.

So in 15 minutes, the couple changed clothes and got a few family and friends together to get married at the New Beginnings Church.

After the short ceremony Villegas said, "We never thought it would come to Indiana this soon." His husband agreed, "This is just one small step across the state of Indiana."

Smith's Grandmother, Janet Pate, said of the wedding and the marriage, "I am real happy, real happy." She then joked, "I don't like the five minute (to get there) call, but I am happy, they deserve it."

Friend Danielle Woods said, "I guess I'm still shocked that Indiana finally came around."

Another friend of the couple, Hilary Hannah, who introduced them, said, "For people to say it's not real or it's not right it hurts me," she explained. "And now, it's just amazing that we can make it real and make it true and it lightens my heart and it makes me so happy because I love them both to death and I'm just so happy for them."

At the same time of that wedding was taking place, another same sex couple was getting married at the Clark County Courthouse.

As for Pastor Patton? She lives in Scott County, so she and her wife will be getting their marriage license there Thursday morning. Meanwhile in Floyd County no marriages had been performed as of Wednesday, but the office was getting ready to close around the same time the Attorney General sent his e-mail.

Indiana's Attorney General said he will challenge the decision.

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