Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Couples 'Making History' as They Visit Clerk to Get Licenses

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Couples 'Making History' as They Visit Clerk to Get Licenses

Article excerpt

Michael Schaefer - one half of the first same-sex couple to get a marriage license in Vanderburgh County - said he was in tears when he heard that an Evansville-based federal judge had struck down the state's ban on gay marriage. "I didn't even get showered, cleaned up or anything. I just said 'Hurry up, get dressed and run,'" the 36-year-old Schaefer said.

He arrived at the Civic Center dressed in khaki shorts and an American Eagle T-shirt with a rainbow eagle in the center with his boyfriend, 23-year-old Kyle Kennedy, just before 1 p.m., about two hours after the ruling was issued, to get their marriage license.

In that ruling, U.S. District Judge Richard L. Young said "Americans will look at the marriage of couples such as plaintiffs, and refer to it simply as marriage."

Schaefer and Kennedy have been together for about a year and a half. Schaefer called Kennedy and asked if he would come down and sign the dotted line. Despite the unorthodox proposal, Kennedy said he simply took a long lunch break and went with Schaefer to the Civic Center.

"It's amazing," Kennedy said.

The couple said they would like to have a big ceremony to mark their wedding.

"The biggest thing is that we have the equal rights like everyone else," Schaefer said.

"That's the main thing, that under law, we would be recognized as a married couple, as it should be. Everyone should be equal."

The couple were in the Vanderburgh County Clerk's main office before Clerk Debbie Stucki announced she was going to grant licenses on Wednesday. Stucki said she was instructed by County Attorney Joe Harrison to begin issuing marriage licenses shortly after the ruling.

"It is my responsibility to uphold court rulings that relate to the County Clerk's office," Stucki said. "Unless there is some change in Judge Young's decision, I plan on immediately following his ruling. …

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