Mayor Whaley marries first same sex couple in Dayton

Kerry Gray and Timothy Walsh were married by Mayor Whaley Friday morning at 11:15 A.M. (WDTN Photo)
Kerry Gray and Timothy Walsh were married by Mayor Whaley Friday morning at 11:15 A.M. (WDTN Photo)

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – “I pronounce you husband and husband,” Mayor Nan Whaley recited. “You may now seal your marriage with a kiss.”

Those were the words Kerry Gray and Timothy Walsh heard during their marriage ceremony. The couple was the first same-sex couple to marry in Dayton on Friday at City Hall.

The ceremony took place less than two hours after the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states.

“On a day-to-day basis, it’s not going to change our relationship because we are married and we knew we were married a year ago. What it’s going to change is the ability to just live on a day-to-day basis,” Gray described. “For families that have children, this simplifies the question of who picks up the child at daycare. If there’s an auto accident or– I bicycle a lot– if I get hit on the side of the road with a bicycle or on my bicycle, then there’s no question that he’s able to come back and see me in the emergency room.”

The high court’s decision is on a case that’s a consolidation of six separate lawsuits from four states: Kentucky, Michigan, Tennessee and Ohio.

Friday’s ruling gives all couples, regardless of their sexuality, to have the right to marry.

Montgomery County Probate Court has been preparing for this possible outcome.

“We’ve already cross-trained our staff so pretty much we’re ready. We’re ready,” Judge Alice McCollum confidently declared.

Minutes after the ruling was announced, Skye McKenna and Tina Gilley sat down, took the oath, paid the fee and signed on the dotted line.

After 8 years together, the lesbian couple has their marriage license.

“I don’t know, you hope that it would happen and you know I have been telling her it would happen in our lifetime,” a teary-eyed Gilley said.

Her soon-to-be wife quickly added,”Now it’s here.”

While the justices have ruled, it is likely there will still be efforts in place to challenge aspects of this ruling some ways, often through state legislation.

Yet, whether judges personally agree with the decision, Judge McCollum explained, marrying couples, “That is one of our duties as probate judges so if one has a religious objection to it, then that person needs to step down from the bench because that would be an ethical question that I’m sure the Supreme Court will definitely reprimand them for.”

Among other counties fulfilling their duties included Clark County and Warren County, both of which issued licenses directly following the ruling.

Meanwhile, Mayor Nan Whaley will perform same-sex wedding ceremonies free of charge through July 2 at the following times:

Friday, June 26, 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Monday, June 29, 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday, June 30, 8:00 a.m. to 10:0 a.m.
Wednesday, July 1, 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Thursday, July 2, 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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