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Couple no longer feels “second class” after gay marriage ruling

FILE - In this April 28, 2015, file photo, demonstrators stand in front of a rainbow flag of the Supreme Court in Washington, as the court was set to hear historic arguments in cases that could make same-sex marriage the law of the land. Gay and lesbian couples could face legal chaos if the Supreme Court rules against same-sex marriage in the next few weeks. Same-sex weddings could come to a halt in many states, depending on a confusing mix of lower-court decisions and the sometimes-contradictory views of state and local officials. Among the 36 states in which same-sex couples can now marry are 20 in which federal judges invoked the Constitution to strike down marriage bans. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

 In this April 28, 2015, file photo, demonstrators stand in front of a rainbow flag of the Supreme Court in Washington.

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.


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