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Political notes from Free Press staff writers Terri Hallenbeck, Sam Hemingway and Nancy Remsen



Civil marriage at a minute after midnight

It was the kind of gathering of friends and colleagues you mights see on a Friday night. Some bottles of wine and desserts set out on a table, clutches of conversation taking place in the kitchen.

But Monday night, as it morphed into Tuesday and the first day of September, 2009, was special for Claire Williams and Cori Giroux. The two women, who had a commitment ceremony three years ago in Baltimore where they met and a civil union when they moved to Vermont in 2007, became "lawfully wedded" under Vermont law in the first moments that was possible.

And as a bonus, the woman officiating over their ceremony was Beth Robinson, a founder of Vermont Freedom to Marry, lawyer in the lawsuit that paved the way for Vermont's two-step legislative process to legalize same-sex marriage.

Robinson described the midnight marriage as historic and miraculous because "Cori and Claire have a chance to participate in an institution they never thought would be available to them."

Yet Robinson also called it mundane -- meaninig an ordinary story of two people falling in love and getting married. She has long talked of marriage for same-sex couple in these terms -- a contrast to all those who say same-sex love is deviant.

After a night when dreams came true, Claire and Cori were back to reality with the rising of the sun. Both went to work as usual -- but today they are Claire Giroux-Williams and Cori Giroux-Williams, a married couple.

-- Nancy Remsen

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