It was a celebration indeed, filled with love and well wishes.
Gay couples, family members, friends, and advocates gathered at North United Methodist Church in Indianapolis to celebrate the freedom to marry in Indiana.
The event, sponsored by the church and Hoosiers Unite for Marriage, was organized in advance of U.S. District Court Judge Richard Young's decision and set to be held the evening the decision was announced. More than 500 people gathered in the sanctuary to celebrate Young's call that Indiana's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.
The Marion County Clerk's office issued 250 marriage licenses to heterosexual and homosexual couples. Clerk Beth White conducted 186 wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples.
Several of the couples who obtained marriage licenses and even wed in a county clerk's office today attended the celebration, including Indianapolis residents Jayme Little and Joel Wendland.
"I was at work when my phone started going off like crazy," said Little, recalling when he learned the news of the federal court's decision. "I made a decision right then to do it."
Little said he and Wendland had talked about possibly getting married if Indiana ever overturned the ban, but they never made a definite decision.
"I tried calling him twice at work," said Little. "I finally sent him a text saying, 'Get your ass down here, we're getting married!'"
Wendland said he was in the middle of something when he got the calls and the text, but wasn't sure if he should leave work to meet Jaime at the City-County building.
"JD [Ford] looked at me and told me to drop it because we were going," said Wendland.
JD Ford, a co-worker of Wendland's, is the Democratic candidate for State Senate District 29. Ford faces incumbent Republican Mike Delph in the November election. Delph is one of the more vocal lawmakers leading the charge to put a traditional marriage definition in the state constitution.
For Little and Wendland, their marriage today was about validation.
"We've been together for 12 years, 3 months, and 22 days," said Little. "We would be together no matter what, but this [marriage] validates what we already know."
"It validates us as human beings," added Wendland.
The happy couple hopes to celebrate another milestone in 2014 as they are trying to adopt a baby. In fact, Wendland thought they might have been selected by a potential birth mother when Little was blowing up his phone to get married. Still, they believe that being married will only add to the support they will give to their future child.
"It means a lot, like they said, that the younger generation won't have to fight because the battle has already been fought," says Wendland.
That was the exact message the Decision Day gathering sent to all in attendance. Hoosiers Unite for Marriage coordinator Kyle Megrath told the crowd that even if the state appeals the decision and wins that appeal, those who began this fight will follow it through to the Supreme Court.
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller did file an emergency motion for a stay in Judge Young's decision. Spokesman Bryan Corbin says the motion asks Young to postpone implementation of his permanent injunction order finding the marriage definition statute unconstitutional. The court was also informed of the intention to appeal that injunction to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.