Richard Rice told his bosses weeks ago that he would be taking the day off when the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage came down. When he left the office Friday to apply for his marriage license at the Gwinnett County courthouse, Rice said, co-workers gave him a standing ovation.
Rice, 52, will marry his partner of 11 years, 38-year-old Sandy Sanderlin. Sanderlin said he was “dazed and confused, elated, glad” when he learned the two could legally wed.
“We’ve always known we were going to do it on the day” it was legal, Rice said. He cited the historic nature of the act, as well as the issues some couples who waited had in states where the approval later disappeared.
Rice, who served in the military, teared up as he talked about the feeling of being able to marry in his home state. A Georgia native, he said he had never considered going elsewhere to wed.
“It’s important that we have that respect and recognition here,” he said. “I no longer feel second class.”
Sanderlin concurred: “It feels like the community’s been legitimized,” he said.
— Filed by Arielle Kass.