Marriage Equality in Missoula

“We’ve been through so much together.”

Nearly all of the couples who celebrated their wedding at the Missoula County Courthouse yesterday expressed a sentiment along these lines. It’s something that is likely more true for these brides and grooms than for many of the others we have photographed. The decision allowing same-sex couples to marry in Montana prompted a lot of ceremonies (we photographed 9) that were a long time coming. And that hit home whenever officiant Kileen Marshall prompted the newlyweds to share the words they had for each other.

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Our day at the courthouse began shortly before 7:30. A reporter for the Kaimin soon joined our watch outside the Office of the Clerk of Court. Over the next two hours, with three weddings, the place would brim with excited couples, friends, family, and news media.

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The office staff showed the utmost graciousness as photographers squatted on their desks and video cameras took root in the walkways of their workplace. “I haven’t gotten to do one yet!” one staff member complained in a good-natured tone, as couple after couple filed in.  The process of obtaining a marriage license took at least 20 minutes.

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Kileen Marshall from the ACLU officiated at the first weddings. We were flattered to be given the choice of where they would take place. Well, how about right here in the light!

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Fancy meeting you here. Serena & Leslie.

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Until a gentle reprimand, the “Quiet Please” sign was somewhat disregarded.

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Ally & Carolyn face the crowd.

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It was thrilling to be a part of this outpouring of happiness. One reporter asked about protests. Gladly, there were none, except for one coming from the newlyweds. Kileen filled us in on an exchange we missed, where a reported asked a couple for an interview. “Do you have time to answer questions for Fox News?” “Nope!” was the response.

Each of the the reporters we saw were beaming throughout the morning.

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Stephanie & Erin were the first to brave the chilly air for a ceremony on the courthouse steps.

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We wish to extend a heartfelt thanks to all of the couples who welcomed us into their joy on this amazing day. We’ve collected highlights here because, well, we couldn’t wait! But know that many more images will be available once we’ve finished editing and uploading your galleries. We will email you with a link when they are available (next week, we hope). The images will be free for you and your friends and family to download at a high resolution (no watermarks or branding will appear) to print wherever, whenever you like.

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Robin & Amy share a laugh.

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Congratulations! We hope you will enjoy the photos here and those to come!

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Paisley sneaks a kiss from Sarah during their wedding.

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