Photo Caption: Four delighted couples received marriage licenses at The Grant County Clerk’s office. From left are Bobby Sosaya and Rodger Koest, Kyle Meredith and Joshua Reeves, Amy James and Tammy Crawford, and Pierre Nichols and Jerry Howell.

Marriage equality came to Grant County yesterday when the County Clerk’s office began issuing marriage licenses to all couples. “It’s a great day for equal rights,” said LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) Grant County President, Ted Tufares. “I’m delighted to be here to see it happen.”  LGBT Grant County was on hand to give rainbow carnations to couples obtaining licenses.

Joshua Reeves and Kyle Meredith celebrated 35 years together in July. They were one of the first four couples to obtain a license. “Who knew I could still get tingly after 35 years?” was how Reeves described the feeling. Tammy Crawford and Amy James also received a license. “It just feels so different to be legal and recognized after thirteen years,” said James. As the youngest couple Rodger Koest and Bobby Sosaya were also excited about getting a marriage license. Pierre Nichols and Jerry Howell have been together for six years. “I can’t believe it is happening,” Nichols said. “I never thought I could be so happy.”

All four couples were married by Chaplain Gale Green that afternoon with family and friends in attendance. The ceremony was simple and profound. “It has been such a battle for rights,” LGBT Grant County Vice-President Elizabeth Rockey said. “Personally, I accept that some people don’t agree with marriage equality. I respect their opinions but I ask the same respect of them. We don’t have to agree to get along.  Everyone deserves the right to marry the person they love if they choose to do so. With DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) being declared unconstitutional, it is time to expand marriage equality to every state. I am confident that New Mexico will step up. Our state constitution guarantees the rights of LGBT people.  I am absolutely delighted that Grant County has done the right thing for love and civil rights for all people. It is an amazing victory for love.” There will be a Wedding Reception at LGBT Grant County’s community center on October 5 at 3 pm for any couple who wants to celebrate their marriage.

LGBT Grant County provides support and activities for LGBT people and their allies. “We have recently realized a long time dream and opened a community center,” said Tufares, “The hours are 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and we have a brunch on Sundays at noon.”

The address is 301 W. College Ave. Suite 5 in Silver City. Call 575-519-5562 for more information. LGBT Grant County also operates a 24/7 help line at 575-956-7359. A House Warming for the center has been planned for Friday, September 13, at 5 p.m.

Live from Silver City

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