First southern Ohio same-sex marriage license issued

Submitted photo Taylor (front) and Brown (back), dressed to receive their marriage license in Ironton on Friday, in which they were the first in southern Ohio.

Joseph Pratt

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After last Friday’s announcement that the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) voted to uphold national marriage equality, the reality of traditional marriage set in for couples across the country. With only five days since the passing, couples in southern Ohio have already filed for marriage licenses. Out of 11 southern Ohio counties, the first couple to receive a license actually went to a former Scioto County resident at around 3 p.m. Friday afternoon in the Lawrence County Probate Court.

The couple to receive the license was Eugene Brown of Ironton, Ohio and Carl Ray Taylor, formerly of South Webster. Judge David Payne and the staff of the Lawrence County Courthouse issued the license within hours of the Supreme Court ruling.

Brown said that he called the court half an hour after it passed, but Judge Payne hadn’t even had time to look over the ruling. The determined Brown said he kept calling until they were ready to give him his license only 5 hours after the SCOTUS held the motion. With television crews, his fiance, and the Probate Court of Lawrence County, Brown received the first license of its kind issued in this part of the state.

Only a few counties have issued same-sex marriage licenses in southern Ohio, including Gallia and Lawrence Counties. The Lawrence County couple was only behind Brown and Taylor by an hour.

Taylor and Brown have been together for 17 months.

“It is amazing,” Brown said. “For the simple fact that we were told for as long as we knew that we couldn’t do something that everyone else could. For the first time, I’ll be able to call myself a husband. I’ve even been joking around and calling him my wifey at home, too. We are excited, and just like anyone else, we want a life of our own.”

Brown and Taylor are currently planning an August wedding. Brown said that there are people in each his and Taylor’s family who haven’t come to terms with their engagement yet, just as it goes in any relationship, but the majority of opinions have been supportive of their decision.

Brown said that he did not believe that marriage equality would be upheld across the nation in his lifetime.

“To me, this is a basic human right, and a legal one, not a religious one,” Brown said. “In the end, it boiled down to the legal right to be married and we are thankful for that. To us, marriage is just the love of two people who want to spend their lives together.”

Taylor said that he was born and raised in Scioto County and graduated as a Jeep. He said that he has since moved in with Brown, but has fond memories of his hometown, where he said people grew to accept his orientation and he called many friend.

Taylor, like Brown, said he did not believe he would see marriage equality nationwide in his lifetime, but is happy and looks forward to becoming the husband of Brown.

“I’m nervous, naturally, but I am very excited,” Taylor said. “I am very happy and I love him with all my heart. This means a lot to me, because I get to spend the rest of my life with the one that I love.”

Reach Joseph Pratt 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03

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