Ex-Phila. officials get license, marry within the hour

Montco wedding of Alba Martinez (left) and Roberta Trombetta by Rev. Morgan R. McLean.
Montco wedding of Alba Martinez (left) and Roberta Trombetta by Rev. Morgan R. McLean. (CAROLYN DAVIS / Staff)
Posted: August 02, 2013

Two weeks ago, Alba Martinez and Roberta Trombetta were planning to go to Italy in October to celebrate their 10th anniversary as a couple. As of Thursday, the trip will be their honeymoon.

Martinez and Trombetta, who have served in high-profile government and private-sector positions, were among the seven same-sex couples who Thursday got a marriage license from Montgomery County. An hour later, they got married.

"We've been feeling this way for a long time about what we meant to each other, and we haven't had an opportunity to have it validated," Trombetta said. "We did now, and we didn't want to pass that up."

Trombetta and Martinez, who live in Philadelphia, know all about seizing political windows of opportunity.

Martinez, 50, is a principal in Vanguard's Retail Investor Group. She had been president and CEO of the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania and, before that, commissioner of the Philadelphia Department of Human Services under Mayor John F. Street.

Trombetta, 46, was chief of operations for Philadelphia Family Court and managing director for the state Department of Public Welfare's Office of Children, Youth and Family during the Rendell administration. She now leads the Arise Academy Charter High School in Philadelphia.

So, the couple had a minister meet them at the county offices and got married on the steps of the courthouse. A deputy sheriff served as the impromptu wedding photographer. "For us, this is about love, justice, and equality. It's also about legal protections," Martinez said Thursday evening. "I have to say that for a long time in my life, I really never even engaged a thought to getting married, because I never thought it was possible."

Last week, county Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes began issuing licenses to same-sex couples in defiance of Pennsylvania law restricting marriage to one man and one woman. Hanes said he was doing so because he believed that law conflicted with the state constitution's provisions on equal protection. So far, 49 same-sex marriage licenses have been issued in Montgomery County, said county spokesman Frank Custer.

As more couples got licenses and had weddings Thursday, Montgomery County announced plans Friday morning to release its response to legal action against Hanes. County Solicitor Ray McGarry also will discuss the response.

On Wednesday, the Corbett administration applied for an injunction in Commonwealth Court to block Montgomery County from issuing the marriage licenses. The court has not yet acted.


Contact Carolyn Davis at 610-313-8109 or cdavis@phillynews.com.

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