Same-sex nuptials with monster trucks, official blessings

Ashley Wilson and Lindsay Vandermay wed during the first same sex marriage in Philadelphia at the top of the Art Museum steps at 12:01am Friday, May 23, 2014. Court of Common Pleas Judge Diane Louise Anhalt officated the service. ( Steven M. Falk / Staff Photographer )
Ashley Wilson and Lindsay Vandermay wed during the first same sex marriage in Philadelphia at the top of the Art Museum steps at 12:01am Friday, May 23, 2014. Court of Common Pleas Judge Diane Louise Anhalt officated the service. ( Steven M. Falk / Staff Photographer ) (Steven M. Falk)
Posted: May 25, 2014

Justin Jain and Adam Woods were supposed to be on their way to Cape Cod on Friday for the Memorial Day weekend, but when Mayor Nutter's office called to ask them to get married at a historic City Hall ceremony, they couldn't refuse.

Jain and Woods, together for nine years, were among the first gays and lesbians who rushed to get a marriage license in Philadelphia on Tuesday after a federal judge struck down the state's ban on same-sex unions.

"We promised ourselves as soon as it was legal, we would run to the courthouse," said Jain, 32, an actor originally from Florida. "We didn't think it would happen until we were 50."

They were among eight couples to be married Friday in the mayor's ornate Reception Room at City Hall. Nutter was not present, but eight city judges presided over a simultaneous exchanging of vows.

The judges are to perform more ceremonies at City Hall on Saturday.

Many of the couples had been together for years and even had pledged their love to each other in previous ceremonies not recognized by the law.

Exchanging official vows Friday clearly meant something special to them.

"Our little thing that we've been saying is, 'Now when they say "We the People," that includes us,' " said Woods, the owner of Camden Printworks, a screen-printing business.

Oscar Cabrera and Christopher DiCapua, both Spanish teachers at Community College of Philadelphia, had waited 19 years to get married, since meeting in grad school in Kansas.

They have lived in Philadelphia for 16 years, and they never thought about moving somewhere on the East Coast where gay marriage was legally recognized.

"The truth is, we've always lived our lives as if we were married," said Cabrera, a native of Nicaragua. "We made a decision that we wanted to wait to do it in Philadelphia."

They said their vows in front of Sheila Woods-Skipper, president judge of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

The judge greeted the soon-to-be betrothed before the ceremonies.

"This is truly a historic event," she said. "When the law changed, we changed right along with it."

Laura Devenney and Catherine Connelly, a couple for eight years, had a family ceremony in 2012. They said the federal judge's decision came so suddenly that they didn't have time to plan another wedding.

"It's a recognition of what we meant to each other," Connelly said. "It makes us fully recognized citizens."

They laughed, thinking about their plans for their legally sanctioned wedding night - they had tickets to go to a monster truck rally in Plymouth Meeting.

"We're kind of nontraditional, so it feels right," said Connelly, who works for Campbell Soup Co.

"It kind of feels like a shotgun wedding," Devenney added. "In a classier way."


tgraham@phillynews.com

215-854-2730

@troyjgraham

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