Valley reacts to court’s same-sex marriage decision

First same-sex couple marriage application in Trumbull County

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Friday’s Supreme Court ruling is bringing lots of answers for the gay community, but questions for the courts.

Probate courts across the country now will have to change their procedures because of the ruling. In Mahoning County, all marriage licenses and applications are now gender neutral. Mahoning County marriage license applications now say “applicant one” and “applicant two” instead of “bride” and “groom.”

The forms were ready Friday, but no same-sex couples came to the Mahoning County Courthouse in Youngstown to get married.

The ruling also means new rights in estate planning, health insurance and adoptions and birth records.

Mahoning County Probate Judge Robert Rusu said he expects many questions over the next few months.

“We have seen a little bit of an increase in telephone calls, people saying ‘what do we need to do? We have gotten married in another state that recognizes it, do we have to do anything in Ohio?’,” Rusu said.

In most cases, people won’t have to do anything to have their marriage recognized by the courts.

“We have the documents ready to go, the licenses are ready to go. It is business as usual for us. Whether it is two men, two women or a man and a woman, we are going to continue to do the same great job we have been doing. We are going to continue to issue the marriage licenses,” Rusu said.

The Supreme Court ruling is being called a great civil rights victory by the LGBT community and will have impacts far beyond the ceremony.

“Any LGBT person that you speak to, you are definitely going to get into a conversation about feeling like a third-class citizen,” Lisa Ronquillo said in a telephone interview.

She said the civil rights victory has not set in for her yet.

“I think we all just feel that we have been fighting this for so long that a lot of us are just in shock,” Ronquillo said.

She said her sexuality should not get in the way of her legal rights.

“I don’t put my sexuality before myself as a person. I like to introduce myself as ‘Hi, I’m Lisa. I’m a student, I’m a sister, I’m a friend’,” Ronquillo said.

Rusu said every judge in the country will be studying the ruling and making sure it is applied in their courtrooms.

In Trumbull County, Barry Tenney and Larry Carr made history in Warren as the first same-sex couple to apply for a marriage license in Trumbull County Probate Court Friday afternoon.

Tenney said they would have been there hours before, but he was looking for his birth certificate. They are both just happy that after being together for 35 years, they finally can make their marriage legal.

“I want my partner to be entitled to my pension and things like that because that would never happen without this happening today because we have been discriminated against for many years,” Tenney said. “I thought that I would never live to see the day that I would actually marry the person that I love.”

Trumbull County Probate Judge James Fredericka said they hae been preparing for this day for a while so that when the decision came down, it would be seamless.

Also in Trumbull County on Friday, a Warren woman whose daughter and daughter-in-law were two plaintiffs in the Supreme Court case gave her reaction to the landmark decision.

Pam Politsky said she was overjoyed when she found out Friday morning, even crying tears of joy. Her daughter, Kelly McCracken, and daughter-in-law, Kelly Noe, were married in Massachusetts in 2011 and took their argument to Washington, D.C. after they tried adding both of their names to their daughter Ruby’s birth certificate.

Now Politsky is breathing a sigh of relief, knowing her daughter and all same-sex couples will have equal rights in the eyes of the law.

“Being a part of this landmark decision has made, it is making a big difference. This is our future, this is what they have been fighting for and working towards,” Politsky said.

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