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“I don’t think that we dared to dream too big until we had the governor’s signature,” Blackburn said. “That’s why it’s so important, because it feels real.”

Bridges and Snell already considered themselves married because they’d held a commitment ceremony attended by friends and family six years ago. Nonetheless, they thought it was important to make it official under state law, as Snell’s two daughters watched.

Katie and Carolyn Snell, the daughters, said the ceremony made formal what they knew all along to be true about the couple.

“It’s just a piece of paper,” said Katie Snell. “Their love has been there, their commitment has been there, all along. It’s the last step to make it a true official marriage because everything else has been there from the start.”