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Monday, October 09, 2006

Same-sex R.I. couple weds in Mass. after judge gives the OK
Brandie M. Jefferson, Associated Press

Mary Norton, left, and her partner, Wendy Becker, right, both of Providence, R.I., exchange a cup of wine after exchanging vows during their wedding ceremony Sunday, Oct. 8, 2006, in Attleboro, Mass. Looking on are Judge Donna Nesselbush, second from left, the Rev. Maryellen Butke, second from right, and the couple's adopted children, Mickey Becker-Norton, 3, lower left, and Hannah Becker-Norton, 6, lower right. The couple successfully fought to allow same-sex couples from Rhode Island to marry in Massachusetts. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

They have been together for 18 years. But they hadn't discussed marriage, Becker said, until the 2003 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling that same-sex marriages were legal in the state.

Then, Becker said, the couple decided marriage would be best for the children. "It's also about being part of this moment in time where we're close to having equality," she said.

After at first being denied a marriage license, Becker and Norton challenged the 1913 Massachusetts law that prohibits out-of-state residents from marrying if the union would not be permitted in their home state.

They argued that same-sex marriage is not specifically banned in Rhode Island. Superior Court Judge Thomas Connolly agreed, saying in his ruling he saw no evidence of a "constitutional amendment, statute, or controlling appellate decision" making same-sex marriage illegal in Rhode Island.

The decision brought cheers from same-sex marriage advocates and put opponents into a defensive position.

Becker's mother, Marjorie, stood near the women, reminding them to hold their bouquets at their stomachs, not their chests. Her father, William, couldn'

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