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Gay couples head to courthouse in wake of ruling on marriage

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Sheryl Baird and Shannon Rouhier were first in line to get a marriage license in Jackson County after a federal judge ruled Oregon's ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional.
 Posted: 3:45 PM May 19, 2014

Sheryl Baird and Shannon Rouhier's wedding was May 19, 2012, but today — their two-year anniversary — they were officially and legally married in front of the Jackson County Justice Building.

At noon today, U.S. District Judge Michael McShane ruled that the 2004, voter-approved gay marriage ban was unconstitutional, and shortly after 2 p.m., Baird and Rouhier were married — the first same-sex couple in Jackson County to tie the knot.

"It's a historic day in that our marriage is recognized by the state and federal governments," Baird said while she and Rouhier filled out the necessary paperwork at the Jackson County Clerk's Office this afternoon.

"And to get married on our wedding day is really surreal," Rouhier added.

The Medford couple met in 2009 through a mutual friend, started dating in 2011 and, a year later, made a commitment to one another before about 50 friends and family members in the backyard of Baird's parent's house in Grants Pass. Rouhier has a modified version of their vows tattooed on her waist.

After a receiving a text regarding McShane's ruling, Baird and Rouhier, accompanied by their two foster children and Rouhier's 23-year-old daughter, bee-lined it to the Jackson County Clerk's Office, where they applied for and were granted their marriage license. Jerilyn Pool, a graphic artist certified to perform weddings, happened to be at the courthouse and volunteered to conduct the wedding.

Claudia Bolinger and Jenny Remley, who also were applying for a marriage license, agreed to be witnesses.

"I didn't know if I'd see this happen in our lifetime," Baird said. "But I didn't see why it couldn't happen. Love is love."

— Teresa Thomas

Correction: The spelling of Shannon Rouhier's name has been corrected throughout this story.

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