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She didn’t have a ring, but she didn’t need one to make Fowler cry.
"I started hyperventilating," Fowler said. "But Pidge was so calm about it. She was just like, ‘You want to do this, right? Let’s go.’ "
The couple waited in line until the Salt Lake County Clerk’s office closed for the day. They left without a license.
A race against time • They returned to the clerk’s office at 6:30 Monday morning. The line that stretched ahead of them wrapped around the building.
Fowler, an attorney, knew that the federal judge who had struck down Utah’s gay marriage ban would be hearing the state’s motion for an emergency stay to put a stop to same-sex unions in a few short hours. If the judge sided with Utah, no more licenses would be issued.
"I was so nervous," Fowler said.
It took eight hours to reach the front of the line.
The women signed their marriage certificate in black ink. Where the form asked for the "signature of groom," Fowler crossed it out and wrote "bride."
Their two friends, L. Villalva and Selina Gorst, who had been married just hours before, served as their witnesses.
Neither of the brides’ families were there to hear them say "I do."
Fowler wore a black shirt, Winburn a hoodie.
When the officiant asked for their rings, they pulled out small turquoise pieces made by Fowler’s 8-year-old niece, with rhinestones spelling out the women’s initials.
They’ll have a more traditional ceremony later.
Up in the mountains, surrounded by parents and siblings, they’ll exchange rings designed by a jeweler and pose for pictures taken with a real camera, rather than a cell phone.
They discuss these plans energetically on Christmas morning as Villalva and Gorst sit nearby, sipping coffee from matching mugs adorned with the letters "Mrs."
Along the inside rim is a Bible verse from Song of Solomon: "I found the one my heart loves."
Married • Among their friends’ kids, Fowler is known as "Mrs. Pidge."
Now, she really is.
Neither is changing her name. They haven’t decided if they’ll be taking a honeymoon. For the most part, they confess, little between them has changed.Next Page >
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