Keeya Estell, 26, and Dawnesha Sims, 23, who started dating seven years ago, were married June 30 in Middletown Municipal Court by Middletown attorney Matthew Dixon because Judge Mark Wall was out of town at a conference.
The ceremony lasted only a few minutes and ended with Estell and Sims sharing a quick kiss.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled by a 5-to-4 vote this summer that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage throughout the country. In the six months since that decision, 75 same-sex couples have applied for marriage licenses, according to the Butler County Probate Courts. Officials in the Warren County Probate Court said they don’t keep same-sex marriage license records.
Dixon’s husband, T. Duane Gordon, attended the Middletown ceremony and after the wedding, as the couple stood outside the courtroom, he congratulated them and said he and Dixon were married in New York. Dixon and Gordon recently celebrated their fourth wedding anniversary, and have a 3-year-old son, Tommy.
Gordon called witnessing the same-sex wedding in Middletown, a Butler County first, a “unique opportunity” and he was happy to play a “small part in a historic moment.”
He said the fact that The Journal-News considered the same-sex marriage ceremony one of its top stories of the year “tells the significance of the event.”
Estell and Sims had planned to wed in Washington, D.C. in 2014, but pushed the date back and decided to hold the ceremony in Middletown, four days after the U.S. Supreme Court lifted the ban on same-sex marriages in their home state.
Sims admitted she was nervous before, during and after the short ceremony.
“We have been through our trials and tribulations,” she said. “But we will make this work.”
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