Same-sex couple ties the knot at midnight
09/01/09 8:10AM By Sarah Ashworth  Download MP3
(Host) Beginning Tuesday, same sex couples throughout Vermont can legally marry. One of the first couples in the state to officially tie the knot did so at the stroke of midnight, and VPR's Sarah Ashworth was there, and shares their story.
(Ashworth) Close to three hours before the midnight ceremony, Claire Williams and Cori Giroux are dressed, and Williams is setting the dining room table.
(Williams) "Putting out desserts, and I'm definitely going to have lots of coffee (laugh) and wine. So, I think folks will witness our ceremony and then probably be excited to go home and go to bed."
(Ashworth) As Williams opens dessert boxes, the couple's dog, a black and white beagle mix named Carolina, scurries from room to room.
(Williams) "That's true, we need to pull out her t-shirt. She has an ‘I have two mommies' t-shirt. Gotta go get that."
(Ashworth) Williams says she and Giroux planned the night's ceremony within a matter of weeks, and they wanted to keep the mood simple and relaxed.
(Williams) "We've had a big, formal commitment ceremony three years ago, we have a civil union, and so we knew we wanted to get married, but we didn't necessarily need to have a big to do, and the ability to celebrate it at the moment it becomes legal is just really cool."
(Ashworth) And Giroux says she was immediately on board with the idea of a late night gathering.
(Giroux) "I was, yeah, I was up for anything."
(Ashworth) Williams and Giroux moved to Vermont two years ago. Giroux works as a behavior interventionist at a local middle school, and Williams works with Residential Life at Champlain College. Before work on Monday, the two stopped by the town clerk's office to apply for a marriage license.
(Williams) "It's just nice to go to your city clerk's office and have people treat you completely the same, and it just felt really good."
(Ashworth) Close to 20 friends began arriving around ten o'clock in the evening. And a few minutes before midnight, the traditional marriage ceremony began.
(Robinson) "Thank you, on behalf of Claire and Cori, for being here."
(Ashworth) Beth Robinson, a lawyer, and member of the Vermont Freedom to Marry Task Force officiated. And the couple's friend, Amber Ulmer spoke.
(Ulmer) "It's hard to express true feelings, it's hard to tell someone how much you love them, but when I see the ease with which you two proclaim and reaffirm your love, over and over, it gives me hope."
(Ashworth) Then, as a photographer snapped pictures, the couple recited their vows.
(Robinson/Giroux/Williams) "I ask each of you to repeat after me in turn, I Claire take you Cori to be my lawfully wedded wife...I Claire take you Cori to be my lawfully wedded wife...to have and to hold from this day on...to have and to h old from this day on...for better, for worse...for better, for worse...for richer, for poorer...for richer, for poorer...to love and to cherish forever... I Cori take you Claire to be my lawfully wedded wife...I Cori take you Claire to be my lawfully wedded wife...to have and to hold from this day on...to have and to h old from this day on...for better, for worse...for better, for worse...for richer, for poorer...for richer, for poorer...to love and to cherish forever."
(Ashworth) And at about 12:01, Robinson pronounced the couple legally married.
(Robinson) "Well, I'm happy to say that by the power invested in me by the state of Vermont, I hereby pronounce you legally married."
(Ashworth) Williams and Giroux say they don't expect a marriage license to change anything in their relationship. But Williams says being married will make a difference to her.
(Williams) "I think, for me, it was
something that there was a point in my life where I accepted that it was not
going to be the case, which I remember being a very sad thing to accept. So, people will argue that the rights aren't
different, but it matters. To be
For VPR News, I'm Sarah Ashworth.