Digital Access

Digital Access
Access daily-chronicle.com from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, prep sports, Chicago sports, local and regional entertainment, business, home and lifestyle, food, classified and more!

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Choose your news! Select the text alerts you want to receive: breaking news, prep sports scores, school closings, weather, and more.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
We'll deliver news & updates to your inbox. Sign up for free e-newsletters today.
Nation & World

8 gay couples married at Philadelphia City Hall

Philadelphia judge Barbara McDermott presides over Adam Woods (left) and Justin Jain wedding Friday at City Hall in Philadelphia. On Tuesday, Pennsylvania became the final Northeastern state and the 19th in the U.S. to legalize same-sex marriage. Republican Gov. Tom Corbett said Wednesday he would not appeal a federal judge's ruling that overturned the state's 1996 ban. (AP Photo)
Philadelphia judge Barbara McDermott presides over Adam Woods (left) and Justin Jain wedding Friday at City Hall in Philadelphia. On Tuesday, Pennsylvania became the final Northeastern state and the 19th in the U.S. to legalize same-sex marriage. Republican Gov. Tom Corbett said Wednesday he would not appeal a federal judge's ruling that overturned the state's 1996 ban. (AP Photo)

PHILADELPHIA – The first gay marriages entered the history books at Philadelphia City Hall on Friday, as exhilarated couples both young and old exchanged vows.

Eight couples were married in the mayor's gilded reception room, days after a federal judge lifted the state's same-sex marriage ban.

"We couldn't really turn that (offer) down because it is such a historic day for our community, and for Philadelphia," said 32-year-old printing company owner Adam Woods as he prepared to marry actor Justin Jain.

Eight city judges performed the weddings simultaneously as family and friends circled around the couples.

"I'm full of love and pride for our city, our community and each other," said Jain, who is also 32.

Pennsylvania could host scores of same-sex weddings this weekend after a federal judge Tuesday threw the state's 1996 ban on "the ash heap of history." Gov. Tom Corbett, who has fought gay marriage on several fronts, decided Wednesday not to appeal, saying it would be unlikely to succeed.

"Some questions are no-brainers, and hopefully they'll be political nonstarters (now), too," Woods said of the gay community's fight for the right to marry.

He noted that U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III, who issued the ruling, had been appointed by a Republican president, George W. Bush. The Tuesday afternoon ruling sent Woods and Jain, and other couples around the state, rushing to get a license the same day.

"I'm 51. I never, ever thought I'd see this day. Never," said an emotional Catherine Hennessy, who married longtime partner Kristin Keith, 42. "I'm so excited – more excited than I could have dreamed."

Stern portraits of Philadelphia mayors from earlier centuries stared down at the newlyweds, not that Hennessy noticed.

"I could only look at Kristin," she said. "Time to move forward."

College Spanish teachers Oscar Cabrera and Chris DiCapua said they have not faced any overt discrimination since meeting at the University of Kansas nearly 20 years ago. Nonetheless, the formal recognition of their relationship is important to them.

"It always felt strange that 18-year-olds could marry somebody they met the day before, while we've been together 18 years and couldn't get married," Cabrera said. "We're glad that we live in Philadelphia, which is very, very progressive."

Common Pleas Judge Barbara McDermott, who married Woods and Jain, noted the diversity in the room. Several couples were of mixed race. Cabrera is from Nicaragua. Jain wore a Barong Tagalog, a traditional Filipino embroidered shirt.

"This is the face of the city today," said McDermott, "and the future of the city."

Loading more