PHILADELPHIA — The first gay marriages entered the history books at Philadelphia City Hall on Friday, as exhilarated couples both young and old exchanged vows.
Eight couples were married in the mayor's gilded reception room, days after a federal judge lifted the state's ban on same-sex marriage.
"We couldn't really turn that (offer) down because it is such a historic day for our community and for Philadelphia," said 32-year-old printing company owner Adam Woods as he prepared to marry actor Justin Jain.
Eight city judges performed the weddings simultaneously as family and friends circled around the couples.
"I'm full of love and pride for our city, our community and each other," said Jain, who is also 32.
Pennsylvania could host scores of same-sex weddings this weekend after a federal judge Tuesday tossed the state's 1996 ban onto "the ash heap of history." Gov. Tom Corbett, who has fought gay marriage on several fronts, decided Wednesday not to appeal, saying an appeal would probably fail.
"Some questions are no-brainers, and hopefully they'll be political nonstarters (now), too," Woods said of the gay community's fight for the right to marry.
He noted that U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III, who issued the ruling, was appointed by a Republican president, George W. Bush. The Tuesday afternoon ruling sent Woods and Jain, and other couples around the state, rushing to get a license the same day.
"I'm 51. I never, ever thought I'd see this day. Never," said an emotional Catherine Hennessy, who married longtime partner Kristin Keith, 42. "I'm so excited — more excited than I could have dreamed."