Same-Sex Marriage Advocates Celebrate Judge's Ruling

By Nick Blumberg
Published: Friday, October 17, 2014 - 11:25pm
Updated: Monday, October 20, 2014 - 7:08am
(Photo by Nick Blumberg - KJZZ)
Dozens of same-sex marriage supporters gathered at the Southwest Conference United Church of Christ in Phoenix.
(Photo by Nick Blumberg - KJZZ)
Debra Peevey is an ordained minister and an organizer with the advocacy group Why Marriage Matters Arizona.
(Photo by Nick Blumberg - KJZZ)
Jeremy Zegas, project director of Why Marriage Matters Arizona, speaks to the packed house.

Lesbian and gay couples around Arizona began marrying Friday after a federal judge overturned the state’s ban on marriage between same-sex couples. Advocates gathered Friday night in central Phoenix for a celebration.

In front of a packed house at the Southwest Conference United Church of Christ, one of the plaintiffs in a pair of cases that helped end the ban stepped to the podium and said something that before Friday, the state in which he lives didn’t recognize.

"Good evening, my name is Joe Connolly, and this is my husband Terry Pochert," he said to a huge cheer.

Another plaintiff, Chris Devine, took the podium, pointing at two of his children standing on either side of him. "This is why marriage matters!"

Attorney Shawn Aiken helped argue the case against Arizona’s ban, and he thanked longtime LGBT advocates.

"These two lawsuits were just the last piece of the work you’ve all done. And what a pleasure, what an honor," Aiken said.

City judges and ministers from several faiths will be performing marriages this weekend at the Rainbows Festival, a gay pride event.