Marriage equality begins in Chicago

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Joanne Gurion walked out of the Cook County Marriage Court Saturday morning with a big smile on her face. She was beaming with joy for her son Charlie Gurion, who had just married the love of his life, David Wilk.

As she exited, Gurion stopped to thank and hug Deputy Sheriff Terrence Camodeca.

Camodeca eyes became teary as she walked away. After 18 years of working Marriage Court, today was historic.

“Nobody should be in the back of the line of life, everybody should be at the front of the line,” Camodeca said. “This is their day.”

Saturday marked the first day same-sex couples could marry in Cook County after Friday’s ruling pushed up when couples could wed. The law legalizing same-sex marriage in Illinois is schedule to go into effect on June 1.

Traditional brides and grooms and same-sex couples filled the line that extended out the door and down the hall. Camodeca called the line “normal” for a Saturday.

Alison Gross was standing with her family when she noticed another same-sex couple waiting by the door. Richard Pfeiffer and Tim Frye were next in line.

“Congratulations.” Gross said, “I have to ask, how many years?”

“43 years,” Frye said.

“Man, that’s a long time to wait.” Gross said.

Gross and her wife, Annie Avery, also waited a long time – they celebrate their 23rd anniversary on Sunday. The couple have two children, Grace 12 and Lily, 7.

Grace learned her moms would be getting married after hoping off the bus yesterday. Today, she was sitting in the waiting area with her parents in a blue dress and her hair braided – as close as she could get to a bridesmaid.

As the couple was called into Judge Michael Panter courtroom, the family stood up and was handed their marriage certificate by the clerk.

Gross laughed as she noticed she was listed as the husband on the certificate. The certificates had not yet been updated Saturday, but it didn’t matter to them.

“It’s historical.” Gross said.

The couple wanted to be apart of the first wave of same-sex marriages in Illinois.

“There won’t be a difference to me, but it makes a difference to them.” Grace said.

“It makes my family more complete”

Photos: Same-sex couples marry at Cook County Marriage Court

Watch:Richard Pfeiffer and Tim Frye say “I Do”:


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