Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley is fulfilling the promise she made during Dayton Pride Weekend to marry all couples free of charge for a week once the Supreme Court ruled it legal.
There is no marriage waiting period in Ohio. Couples can get marriage licenses from their counties and simply head down to City Hall to tie the knot during the times listed below and take Whaley up on her offer.
Here is the schedule she established for the week:
Today: 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Dayton City Hall
Monday: 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at MJ's on Jefferson, 20 N. Jefferson St.
Tuesday: 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at city hall
Wednesday: 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at city hall
Thursday: 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. at city hall
There is no need to reserve a spot. The $50 fee will be waived.
[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/212093199" params="auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="450" iframe="true" /]
Whaley said the city prides itself on being open and inclusive.
Dayton city commissioners passed a gender orientation anti-discrimination ordinance in 2007. The city’s domestic partner registry was approved in 2012. Whaley has performed a mass commitment ceremony as part of the city's PRIDE events the last two years.
"The 2004 constitutional ban on gay marriage in Ohio was something we could not get over without the Supreme Court actions," she said. "This is just a huge win for the city in having some help from the Supreme Court in really being open and inclusive and celebrating equality."
Whaley said she is proud of the Supreme Court's decision.
"I have always struggled with the fact that I have friends who did not have the rights that I have," she said. "For the people that I care about to be able to marry the people they love makes my marriage richer."
Gay couples wishing to get married in Dayton will have help with services.
Nearly 60 same-sex marriage-friendly Dayton-area wedding vendors from florists to photographers to venues took part in Outlook Ohio Magazine's Big Love wedding event in April.
Karen Wick-Gagnet plans to offer space in her business, CoCo's Bistro in South Park, to same-sex couples free of charge for celebrations.
She'll even throw in some free champagne.
The restaurant will have special cocktails today called Unity and Rainbow Kisses.
The issue is all about equality, Wick-Gagnet told me.
"It is about love. It is about peace. It is about creating a culture of love and acceptance," she said. "I am happy to have an opportunity to be a part of a celebration that honors those basic principles of life."
Wedding planner Kathy Piech-Lukas, the owner of Your Dream Day in Oakwood, urged same-sex couples not to be too frustrated if they encounter wedding professional unwilling to give them exactly what they want when they want it.
"There are vendors that will gladly help them with their wedding day and making it the special day that they imagined," Piech-Lukas said.
Like CoCo's, Your Dream Day was a participant in the Big Love event.
Piech-Lukas said many wedding vendors plan to include the gay pride rainbow flags or the phrases "LGBT friendly" or "LGBT welcome" to advertisements and other materials.
For Piech-Lukas, it is all about seeing people happy.
"Everybody in life deserves to be happy," she said. "This ruling is just going to give hope to so many couples in Ohio who have been waiting to say those vows in front of friends and family just as heterosexual couples have for hundreds of years."
She offered the following resources:
CincyGayWeddings.com's Love Wins Weekend set for July 24.
Gayweddings.com owned by Wedding Wire.