At last: Same-sex couples exchange vows in Isabella County
When an officiant offered to marry them today at the Isabella County Clerk's office, Rickie McCullough and Debbie Pridgeon politely declined.
After hearing about the historical Supreme Court ruling legalizing all same-sex marriages, the couple decided to wait until tomorrow to get married.
Their families have no idea that tomorrow, the pair will say no to following suit with the rest of the same-sex couples married today and exchange vows at a family reunion, where three ministers will be in attendance.
"I think most of my family will be very excited," Pridgeon said. "My mom will be upset that there's not going to be cake."
Pridgeon and McCullough ventured to the clerk's office to obtain their marriage license. For them, it has been a long time coming. They've been together for more than 40 years, and are looking forward to being married in their home state, surrounded by their families.
"We've been waiting and waiting," Pridgeon said. "We have had friends get married out of state, but we always wanted to get married at home."
Unlike Pridgeon and McCullough, Cindy Seger and Jane Gilmore heard the news and immediately went to the bank, got their birth certificates and headed to the county building to exchange vows. Seger said her kids called her this morning with the news. Both of their eyes welled up with tears when County Clerk Minde Lux showed them their complete marriage license for the first time.
"I feel ecstatic," Seger said. "It almost doesn't feel real."
Lux married three couples back-to-back on June 26 on the lawn of the Isabella County Building. One of the couples, Robyn D'Reaux and Lori Rodgers, took part in a 2003 civil ceremony. The pair waited anxiously with their two children, after also rushing to bank to get their documents. D'Reaux said today is a big day for her and her family.
"I get to say I am married for the first time in my 41 years," she said.
The two smiled through tears as they exchanged vows under the shade of a large tree, with sunlight streaming through its leaves. For them, today was about their children, who weren't born before their first ceremony.
"They missed the original one, so today it's going to be cupcakes and ice cream with them," D'Reaux said.
McCullough said after they get married, the couple has a lot of paperwork to look forward to.
"We're keeping our last names so we won't have to change that," McCullough said. "But we have to change the title on our house, our insurance...lot's of paperwork."
For Seger, and the other same-sex couples, today has been waited for with much anticipation.
"We were wondering what would happen, and then we heard the news," she said. "Finally."