South Bend Deputy Mayor Neal officiates a same-sex marriage - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

South Bend Deputy Mayor Neal officiates a same-sex marriage

SOUTH BEND - Friday afternoon, the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago issued a stay on the Indiana attorney generals appeal.  On Wednesday, a judge had struck down Indiana's prohibition on same-sex marriage, saying it's unconstitutional.  The court's order halts same-sex marriages in Indiana.  And it leaves the status of those couples already married in limbo.

Friday before that stay, a lot of people in Indiana got their marriage licences

One couple we talked to got their license Friday afternoon and had their wedding ceremony just a half hour before that stay was granted.
South Bend Deputy Mayor Mark Neal officiated the ceremony.

Mary and Linda Ponterio have been waiting to have a legal marriage in the state they live in.  "We've been fighting this for so long." said Linda.
Friday they finally got their marriage license, then an hour later, in the Deputy Mayor's office, said their vows, exchanged rings, and kissed.

"It's been disbelief and happiness." said Mary.
The couple has been together for five years, but it hasn't been easy living in a state that banned gay marriage.  Linda said, "we really seriously did consider moving to a state that was friendly to us."

With a federal judge overturning the ban on gay marriages Wednesday Mary and Linda were hoping they got the best of both worlds, a legal marriage and the ability to stay close to family and friends.  "It's a win, it's the biggest win there is," said Mary.
Deputy Mayor Mark Neal agreed.  "It's the right thing to do and I'm glad we can do that here in South Bend. "

Neal said this sends a message about South Bend, that the city welcomes everyone and is stronger because of its diversity.  "We want to be a strong, open, connected city for everyone, so everyone can thrive," said Neal.
Linda and Mary said the support from the City made their big day that much better.  "It's this big love explosion," said Linda.

Since that stay was issued just after Neal married Linda and Mary he issued a statement about it Friday night.  It reads, "I'm disappointed a federal appeals court brought same-sex marriages to a halt this evening. I was honored to officiate the marriage of a South Bend couple and I hope the legal process will protect the rights of more couples to have the same opportunity."

There are several same sex marriage licenses that were issued in our area that will now be in limbo.  St. Joseph County issued about 85 this week, Elkhart County - 32, Kosciusko County - 6, Marshall and LaGrange - 5, Fulton and Starke - 1.  There were zero given out in Pulaski County.

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