Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Local couples begin applying for licenses

by on May 22, 2014 10:59 AM

Having been with her partner for 19 years, Karen Brown figures her upcoming wedding will be more of a celebration of recommitment than a celebration of a new commitment.

But regardless of what it’s supposed to celebrate, there’s still much work to do either way. There are invitations to be extended. And they have to meet with the minister. And, oh, what to wear?

Brown and her partner, Carolyn Thompson, of Indiana, are one of three same-sex couples who so far have applied for a marriage license at the Indiana County Register of Wills & Recorder of Deeds office. And other license applications are more than likely forthcoming, said Register Patricia Streams-Warman.

Brown and Thompson stopped in Wednesday afternoon to fill out their license application. They had been anticipating the court decision striking down the state’s gay marriage ban, but they weren’t sure when that decision would come.

When it did, they didn’t waste time in seeking the license, fearing that Gov. Tom Corbett would appeal the court’s decision. Ultimately, he didn’t.

So now there’s not much to worry about, except the planning for their evening wedding ceremony Saturday at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Indiana.

The ceremony will put an official stamp on their relationship, which began nearly two decades ago as faculty members at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

[PHOTO: Carolyn Thompson, left, and Karen Brown applied for a marriage license at the Indiana County Court House on Wednesday. The Indiana couple, together for 19 years, are planning a wedding for this weekend. (Jamie Empfield/Gazette)]

They said that to have their relationship legitimized in the eyes of the state, to finally be able to enjoy the same benefits as any other married couple, is wonderful and exciting and any number of other adjectives.

“This is what commitment looks like, and we want to have this acknowledged,” said Thompson.

They also said that through their wedding they hope to show other same-sex couples in Indiana County that it’s OK to pursue the same stamp of approval for their own relationships.

As for their ceremony, there will be friends and family and DJ and hors d’oeuvres, something special to celebrate time together, Brown said, as well as the time ahead.

Sam Kusic is a staff writer for The Indiana Gazette.
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