- Associated Press - Friday, June 26, 2015

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Three couples who married in other states before moving to Tennessee were part of the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic ruling legalizing same-sex marriage across the United States. Here are their reactions to the decision:

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TANCO AND JESTY

Valeria Tanco and Sophy Jesty were gathered with friends and co-workers in the hallway of the University of Tennessee’s College of Veterinary Medicine when they learned the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled in their favor, making same-sex marriage legal across the United States.

Jesty says she felt “pure, overflowing joy and excitement” at the news. “I just feel free, like a burden or a weight has been lifted.”

Jesty and Tanco are both veterinarians who teach at the school. They were married in New York before moving to Tennessee for work. They had planned to gather in a room at the college on Friday to await the court’s decision, but there were too many people. So the hallway filled with people crying and yelling with excitement.

Jesty and Tanco say they are especially happy that their 15-month old daughter will grow up not feeling that her parents are different from anyone else’s.

“Her family is legally recognized, and both moms are on the birth certificate, so no one can take that away from her, or from her family,” Tanco said.

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DEKOE AND KOSTURA

Sgt. 1st Class Ijpe deKoe (EE’-pah de-KOO’) was driving home from work and turning on the radio to listen to the news when his mother called to tell him about the decision.

“And then the world exploded,” he said.

“You’re not supposed to answer text messages while driving, but I could see the phone lighting up like Christmas. And it hasn’t stopped.”

DeKoe and husband Thom Kostura ended up in Memphis in 2012 when deKoe was stationed there after returning from a 9-month deployment in Afghanistan. They had married a year earlier in New York. That marriage was recognized when deKoe, an active duty Army reservist, was on base, but not once he stepped off base. Now all that has changed.

DeKoe said he and Kostura are “overwhelmed” by the ruling. They plan to celebrate by flying to San Francisco where they will participate in the city’s gay pride parade.

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MANSELL AND ESPEJO

Matthew Mansell said he was “trying to breathe” shortly after hearing the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled in favor of same-sex marriage.

Mansell and Johno Espejo (es-PEH’-ho) married in San Francisco in 2008 before moving to Franklin for Mansell’s job in 2012. They have since moved back to California.

Asked about the ruling in a phone interview Friday, Mansell said he was very relieved. He said he had been “a little bit jittery” in anticipation of the decision, even though his marriage was recognized in California.

“Now we can live anywhere in the U.S. and be a legally married couple, even if I am transferred,” Mansell said. “You can’t always pick and choose where you live. My family doesn’t have to worry anymore.”

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