Ready to take plunge

Published 12:01 am Sunday, June 28, 2015

As the public reaction bounces between jubilation and vitriol on the controversial ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday that gay marriages are legal in any state in the country, one local couple has already made their own history.

Within hours of the ruling Ironton funeral director Eugene Brown and Carl Ray Taylor of South Webster were issued the first marriage license in southern Ohio.

“I started calling the courthouse when the decision was made at close to 10 o’clock,” Brown said.

The clerk in Judge David Payne’s office said, at first, there was no problem in getting a marriage license.

“You mean for same sex marriages?” Brown asked. “She said then you will have to wait a few minutes. Hopefully it will be today.”

About an hour later Brown called again.

“She said we are waiting on Judge Payne to tell us it is OK to issue the license,” Brown said. “I called them a few more times and got their answering machine.”

At 3 p.m. the couple went down to the courthouse to wait.

“I went up to the window and asked if they had heard from Judge Payne and they handed me my form to fill out,” Brown said. “It was just amazing.”

The couple met on line about 16 months ago.

“We met in February 2014 and I knew within a month I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him.”

Brown’s fiancé is a graduate of South Webster High School and a customer associate for the Dollar Tree.

Brown is a graduate of the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science and owner and operator of Brown Funeral Chapel, which he opened 10 years ago.

They are planning an August wedding, which they hope to be a church ceremony.

“The only church that I know that accepts same sex couples has been the Episcopal Church,” Brown said.

Brown has contacted Christ Episcopal Church in Ironton about that church’s priest conducting the ceremony.

“There is certainly a lot of conversation in diocese in southern Ohio and I think we can look forward to a comment from our bishop on how the church in southern Ohio will respond to the recent Supreme Court decision,” the Rev. Sallie Schisler, priest-in-charge at Christ Church, said.

The other option is to get married at the Brown funeral home, that was once the Ironton Christian Baptist Church, Brown said.

The pair has 60 days from date of issuance to have the ceremony performed.

“I said for the last six months I want to be the first in line to get a marriage license in Lawrence County,” Brown said. “When you think of all the heartache and pain people have endured prior to this ruling. One day they say, ‘You can’t. You can’t. You can’t.’ And the very next day they are handing them out like candy bars.”