- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 4, 2010

Sinjoyla Townsend was at a courthouse and in tears Wednesday morning. And she wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Ms. Townsend and her partner, Angelisa Young, were the first same-sex couple in line to apply for a marriage license at the H. Carl Moultrie Courthouse.

The tears rolled down Ms. Townsend’s face as the resident of the District of Columbia basked in silent joy, overcome by the emotion of the day.

“No matter where I go in the world now, when I say I’m married, somebody else will truly understand exactly what I’m talking about,” Ms. Young said. “It’s not gay, it’s not lesbian, it’s just a human right of being able to share love and enjoy each other. That’s basically all we’re asking for and we got it today.”

Ms. Young, 47, and Ms. Townsend, 41, joined dozens of other couples at the courthouse - on the first day gay marriages were allowed in the District. Same-sex couples could apply for marriage licenses and then wait the standard processing period of three full business days for the licenses to be issued. Tuesday will be the first day same-sex marriage ceremonies can be performed and recognized.

Ms. Young and Ms. Townsend also will be among the first to marry. They will wed at a nondenominational service at the Human Rights Campaign headquarters.

Some of the same-sex couples at the courthouse Wednesday - at least 90 had arrived before noon - said they already had married informally but were glad for the opportunity to get the government’s seal of approval.

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Terrance Heath and Richard Imirowicz, who met online and now live in a Maryland suburb, said they had exchanged rings and vows while vacationing on a Hawaiian beach.

“Our parents are married, our brothers and sisters are married, and now we’ll join our family in being married, too,” Mr. Imirowicz said.

This day was special for the couple because “it means we’ve solidified even more the commitment that we’ve had for 10 years,” Mr. Heath said. “It’s just a wonderful day for our family and for the other families here and for the community. Because being committed to our family means belonging to our community and making it a better place.”

The couple have two children, and Mr. Heath said he will finally able to give them “a home with two loving, committed parents who are married to each other.”

Cuc Vu and Gwen Migita, residents of the District, spoke about the support of the couples inside the courtroom. They said others cheered them on as they exited the room where they submitted their applications.

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