But Adria Jocson-Phillips sees things differently. From her perspective, the widely reported dash for marriage licenses wasn’t so much a mad rush to county clerk offices as it was a patient crawl to that point in history.
“I’ve had friends who have been together for 20 years, and they’ve been waiting for this moment to come,” she said Dec. 31.
Like many others in the gay and lesbian community, Jocson-Phillips never imagined that Utah would become the first “red” state where same-sex marriage is now legal.
The odds that it would happen in her lifetime seemed so remote that she and her partner Natalia even considered the possibility of moving to another state.
They ultimately left their former home in Salt Lake City. But instead of abandoning the Beehive State, they decided to settle in Moab, and they say they’re very happy that they did.
On Monday, Dec. 23, the couple walked into the Grand County Clerk’s office during their lunch break to apply for a marriage license, and after nearly nine years together, they officially tied the knot later that day.
As of Dec. 31, eight other same-sex couples had also received marriage licenses in Grand County, according to Grand County Clerk Diana Carroll.
With the help of their Moab-area friends, the Jocson-Phillipses managed to prepare for an impromptu ceremony in less than two hours. It turned out to be a double wedding: Two of their close friends married each other at the same time.
Adria didn’t think that she would lose her cool at the altar, but she began to cry.
She grew emotional, she said, just thinking about the fact that she and Natalia are making history.
“That thought alone brought me to tears,” she said in a Facebook post.
Natalia broke down, too.
“It was so emotional on so many different levels,” she said.
Her mother would have been so proud and happy, Natalia said. Shortly before her mother’s death, she gave the couple her blessings.
“She said, ‘when are you going to marry the patient one?’”
The couple have been able to count on that kind of family support from the very beginning.
“We’ve never had a problem getting sick and [then] not being able to be there for one another because we have such supportive families,” Natalia said.
Still, they said they are just beginning to process the realization that their hospital visitation privileges and other rights are now protected under the law.
“These are things that are still sinking in because we’ve never really thought about them before,” Adria said.
“I don’t even have any words for it. It’s exciting,” Natalia said. “Not that I felt less equal before, but under the law, we’re legally married now.”
The couple aren’t asking anyone to validate their relationship, Natalia said.
“The only thing we should really care about is our love for each other,” she said.
However, Natalia said she does believe the marriage certificate validates their commitment to each other.
“I guess this little piece of paper is [meaningful],” she said.