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I DO, I DO, I DO ... THEY ALL DID

All is sweet at the courthouse with a mass wedding on Valentine's Day.

I do.

With those two little words, 27 couples were wed in the courtyard of the Clearwater Courthouse on Valentine's Day.

Then there was lots of kissing.

At 2 p.m. Thursday, hundreds of people jammed 315 Court St. to witness the second annual mass wedding.

Forty couples had signed up for the nuptials. No word on why the 13 others didn't show up.

"It's wonderful to see love in the air at the courthouse,'' said Myriam Irizarry, chief deputy in the Pinellas County Clerk's Office.

Much of the time, the people she sees at the courthouse aren't in a good mood. They're there for jury duty, to pay traffic tickets, file small claims cases and the like.

The ceremony was performed by Circuit Court Judge Jack St. Arnold. As a former divorce court judge, he has ended hundreds of marriages.

"This is better,'' said St. Arnold, now a probate magistrate.

Ray and Kathy Donohoo, 69 and 57 respectively, were having a great time.

The couple met at a Valentine's Day ballroom dance five years ago. It's the second marriage for both.

"He's the love of my life,'' Kathy Donohoo said of her new husband, a square dance caller.

She said "everybody thought he could never be caught.''

She is sure the couple will do the do-si-do for the rest of their lives.

How can she be so confident?

"Show her,'' she said.

She had him reach into his pocket. Out came a pair of fuzzy red handcuffs she had bought.

"He's not getting away,'' she said, laughing.

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