Local clergy prepare to perform same-sex marriages

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – If the Supreme Court doesn’t intervene, gay marriages will begin in the Commonwealth on Thursday.

As the clock is ticking, preparation is underway, just in case Chief Justice John Roberts gives the “okay.” A Virginia group just released the names of 66 clergy willing to perform same-sex marriages. And WAVY.com caught up with two of them right here in Hampton Roads.

“In all of our lifetimes, I don’t think any of us could have ever imagined, even as recently as last year or two years ago, that we’d be at a juncture where we are today,” said Pastor Mark Byrd of the New Life Metropolitan Community Church of Hampton Roads. “We already have several couples that have put their name on the list at least from my end of things and said, ‘hey, if this happens, we want to do it Thursday.’”

Reverend Jim Whalen with People of Faith for Equality in Virginia said they are gearing up for what they hope to be an unprecedented day in the Commonwealth. Whalen was just ordained two weeks ago and he’s working to get his license to officiate by Thursday. He said being on this list of clergy willing to perform same-sex marriages in the state is personal for him.

“I’ve been together with my now husband for 40 years, and I know what it was like not to be able to be married,” he said.

They want to be a part of ushering in a new era, and it’s interesting timing as Pridefest in Norfolk is taking place this week. Regardless of what Chief Justice Roberts decides, the gay community is prepared to mark the recent historic strides that have been made by celebrating the couples who have become the face of their fight and more.

“It’s exciting because it’s trans formative and life-changing for so many individuals and couples across the Commonwealth, but right here in Hampton Roads too,” Byrd said. “We will either be blessing relationships or we will honor and recognize couples who have made that trip to Maryland, D.C. or Delaware. Best case scenario: we’ll be officiating and celebrating with couples to be able to marry who they love.”

WAVY.com talked to two representatives in local Circuit Court clerks offices about changes to marriage licenses. They’re actually still waiting for the new forms from the State Registrar’s Office, which may not be released electronically, unless the stay is denied. The forms are expected to say “spouse” instead of “bride” or “groom.” They will also ask for the maiden name and sex of both people on the application.

Stay with WAVY.com for the latest developments on the Chief Justice’s decision.

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