STROUDSBURG — It wasn’t until mid-afternoon Wednesday that the first same-sex couple stopped by the courthouse in Monroe County to apply for a marriage license.
Newswatch 16 was there as the couple, together for 25 years, signed the official paperwork.
It’s a momentous day for Paul Owens and Jeff Robins. The couple who met 25 years ago are finally making their relationship official in the eyes of the state after Pennsylvania’s ban on same sex marriage was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge.
“I’m overjoyed, when I heard about it yesterday I was simply overjoyed. Tears came to my eyes and I began to cry,” said Paul Owens of Stroudsburg.
The couple from Stroudsburg say they first met in New York City. About a quarter century later, the pair filled out their marriage license in the Monroe County Courthouse.
“I’m blown away, it happened so quickly. It’s been happening around the country but I didn’t ever think it would happen here,” said Jeff Robbins of Stroudsburg.
“It was like the civil rights movement for me. This is something that is a right for all Americans,” said Owens.
Now the first same sex couple to apply for their marriage license in Monroe County hope to inspire others they know have been waiting a long time for this historic moment.
But the applications in Monroe County and across the state now need to be adjusted because one bride and one groom won’t apply for all situations.
But the Clerk of Orphans Courts is still processing applications.
“He’s instructed us to put applicant one and applicant two on the marriage license until there’s some kind of decision on a new form,” said Monroe County Clerk of Orphan Courts George Warden.
Richard Spezzano and his partner Ray own Rainbow Mountain Resort near East Stroudsburg. They married in another state and are now recognized as married in Pennsylvania, something Spezzano hopes happens all across the U.S.
“There’s no way it can be stopped at this point, so we’re really excited and we cross our fingers and hopefully the whole country will end up doing that,” said Spezzano.