Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

For the First Time at PrideFest, Legal Marriages

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

For the First Time at PrideFest, Legal Marriages

Article excerpt

Greg Robbins and Cliff Blake wanted the perfect wedding day.

On Friday, when the U.S. Supreme Court made its landmark marriage equality decision, the couple realized their dream was coming true. Engaged since last October, they waited until Wednesday to get their marriage license in hopes that they would be able to celebrate their wedding as a gay couple at the same time it was declared legal across the country.

"We wanted the real thing," said Blake, 40, of St. Louis.

They joined 24 other couples Saturday afternoon at St. Louis City Hall for a commitment ceremony, and for the first time, legal marriages performed during the annual PrideFest celebration downtown.

A St. Louis circuit judge ruled in November that same-sex couples could get marriage licenses, and the city as well as St. Louis and Jackson counties immediately began issuing them.

But other county officials across the state, following advice from the Recorders' Association of Missouri, decided to hold off until the ruling was fully appealed.

Because of the November ruling, PrideFest organizers added legal marriage ceremonies to the roster of events this year. While many of the couples getting married said they had planned to do so on Saturday before the Supreme Court decision, they said the news was icing on the wedding cake.

"It is the most perfect scenario," said Robbins, 51. Now that they are married, they have decided to meld their last names: Greg and Cliff Robbins-Blake. In the rotunda at City Hall, they toasted the day with champagne and ate cake with family and friends after the ceremony.

Same-sex couples now have a right to marry anywhere in the United States, eliminating bans in Missouri and a dozen other states.

Gay and lesbian couples already could marry in 37 states, including Illinois, and the District of Columbia. The court's 5-4 ruling means the remaining states, in the South and Midwest, will have to stop enforcing their bans on same-sex marriage. …

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