Same-sex couples exchange vows at Austin church

 Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states, couples that have been waiting for several years are able to tie the knot.

States that ban same-sex marriage can ask U.S. Supreme Court justices to reconsider the ruling, but it is unlikely that they will do that. That makes June 26, 2015 the day same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide.

"It's not gay marriage, it's not straight marriage, it's just marriage now and that's the great thing about it all," said Dennis Delaney who married his partner Tom Watts Saturday morning.
After the announcement of the High Court's ruling, the Travis County Clerk's office handed out marriage licenses to 313 people on Friday. Compare that to just 17 the day before.

"We don't have to have the state to tell us that love is important or any of those things, but we feel that and I think there's an amazing feeling in our community that we are recognized human beings and citizens of our own country," said Metropolitan Community Church Senior Pastor Karen Thompson.

Dennis Delaney and Tom Watts were the 80th couple to get their marriage license in Travis County Friday. They also got a waiver from the court so that they could get married right away.

"We've been together for 15 years and that we've never thought that this would happen and it's happened and we want to be able to tell people we're married," said Delaney.  

Dennis and Tom feel like they have already waited long enough.

"We weren't planning on my family showing up and my family showed up," said Delaney.

Emotions have been running high for same-sex couples who felt like their relationship was invisible to the government before Friday.

Thompson knows the struggles same-sex couples have been facing first-hand.

"A couple of years ago we actually started to give up on Texas, so we actually went to California on our 15th anniversary and were legally married there. I will tell you though that yesterday was still an amazing day when our wedding became legal in Texas too," said Thompson.

Not all Texans are celebrating the ruling. Governor Greg Abbott said he will "continue to defend the religious liberties of all Texans." Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton also showed his opposition when he said, "The impact of this opinion on our society and the familial fabric of our nation will be profound."
There are still some specifics state courts, county clerks and even same-sex couples will need to work out.

"The debate as to do we hyphenate our names? That's kind of one of the things we're looking at is it Delaney-Watts or is it Watts-Delaney or is it just keep the names separate?" Delaney said.  

Those minor details aren't stopping Austinites from showing their true colors.

"We have a lot to work on, but if there's one place where the GLBT community has been celebrated in Texas, I guarantee you, its Austin," said Thompson.

Other churches available for same-sex weddings in Austin include Central Presbyterian, Faith Presbyterian and Holy Family American Catholic.

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