1 same sex marriage license issued in Rhea County so far - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

1 same sex marriage license issued in Rhea County so far

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The U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision on gay marriage is still making headlines, but local county clerk offices report that they haven't been too busy issuing many same sex marriage licenses.

In the Channel 3 viewing area, 15 Tennessee marriage licenses have been issued to same sex couples.

In Rhea County, there has been just one same sex wedding since last week. The first (and so far only) same sex couple to be married in Rhea County says reality is still sinking in.

"It seemed kind of too good to be true," said one half of the couple. Concerned that rural Rhea County isn't ready to accept them, they didn't want their identities revealed.

That's why applying for a marriage license seemed so surreal.

"To make sure if it was for real... and it was actually the law of the land," he said.

The two men, ages 33 and 39, have been together for 11 years. They were married in a private ceremony in their living room last week.

County Clerk Linda Shaver explained that her office will follow the law.

Shaver said the only change is on the marriage license records forms. The former lines listing "Bride" and "Groom" are now gender-neutral "Applicant 1" and "Applicant 2."

Despite the federal ruling, not everyone in the area supports the idea.

"I believe in The Bible. It started out Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve," said Brandon Croft, who opposes gay marriage.

"If that's what they wanna do, let them do it," said Croft. "I don't think they should be allowed to do it in public and not get married."

However, the newly married Rhea County couple is surprised that more gay couples in the county haven't tied the knot yet.

"I was surprised there weren't a few more because I know a few within the county that have been together for a substantial amount of time," he said.

In addition to the single same sex marriage license issued in Rhea County, nine marriage licenses have been issued to same sex couples in Hamilton County. Four same sex marriage licenses have been issued in Bradley County, along with one license in McMinn County.

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