Same-sex couple among first to wed in Pa.

A Midstate same-sex couple is now among the first in the state to officially wed. 

Erica and Tracey Strickland say they have waited years to get married, and on Saturday they were finally joined in marriage at the Unitarian Church of Harrisburg in Swatara Township.

Their marriage happened just days after Judge John Jones struck down the ban on gay marriage in Pennsylvania. Governor Tom Corbett announced Wednesday he would not appeal.

The newlyweds described the ceremony as “surreal,” adding that they are “no different than any other couple.”

“We’ve been together for five years and we’ve been planning to get married for 5 years,” Erica Strickland said. “I’m going to school right now and the plan was when I graduate in two years we were going to move out of state to where it’s legal. So the feeling now that we can stay here, stay with our family and we’re able to marry here in PA is beyond wonderful.”

The couple’s three daughters and two grandsons were the wedding party.

“Just can’t believe it. It’s like a dream come true,” Strickland said. “You dream of these moments and to actually have it happen. Up to that moment, that second it’s like this is really happening! And it’s wonderful.”

The newlyweds said there is another reason their marriage is so important — legal equality.

“I went through a health issue several years ago. I was basically directed by the hospital to list Erica not as my significant other or spouse. I had to say she was my sister,” Strickland said. “In order for her to be kept abreast of everything that was going on with me from surgery to after surgery, all my care. And I don’t have to say that anymore,” she said.

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