Same-sex couples apply for marriage licenses in West Michigan

Posted at 11:27 AM, Jun 26, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-26 22:44:23-04

WEST MICHIGAN — Following Friday’s historic Supreme Court ruling overturning bans on same-sex marriage, couples across West Michigan started applying for marriage licenses.

Zach and Colby Roanhorse, the first same-sex couple to apply for a marriage license in-person at the Kent County clerk’s office after Friday’s historic Supreme Court ruling, spoke to FOX 17.

“I was by the TV ready to go: passports in hand, birth certificates in hand, I booked it,” Colby Roanhorse said. “I mean I ran in. So, you know, to be the first ones here and to be the first ones to sign the document, I am beyond thankful, beyond.”

Kent County couple Linda and Amy Busby had the 3-day waiting period for a marriage license waived and became the first same-sex couple to be married in Kent County. Kent County Clerk Mary Hollinrake waived the waiting period due to health concerns for the couple's three adopted children, nine-years-old and younger. Their wedding ceremony was held outside the Kent County clerk's office.

“Now we can finally get married, and make it all one big happy family, instead of compartmentalized family,” said Amy Busby.

With their three children in tow, Amy and Linda have been together since '98. In their eyes, they have been married since their commitment ceremony in '01, but that has not been enough for the realities of their children's health care with only one legally adoptive parent.

“It was very difficult: [our daughter] just had brain surgery a week ago, and as we’re there, I had to leave the room for a minute and they brought in some forms, Amy signed them," said Linda Busby. "It’s like wow, what a slap: we’re here taking care of our daughter; our daughter.”

Their relationship of 17 years, parents for the last nine, the Busby's tears showed what it means to them to have equal legal protection for their family, as they took their first step for both of them to legally adopt their three children.

"It is so awesome," Amy Busby said. "It is. This is a long time coming, we’ve been waiting for this so long.”

In Muskegon County,  Lori Hazelton, 24, and Stephanie Wade, 23 were the first same-sex couple to be married in the county after the Supreme Court ruling.  They met in high school 8 years ago.


Lori Hazelton and Stephanie Wade

"They've gone through a lot to get here.  They were high school sweethearts," their friend Emily Newell said.

The couple planned to marry last year when Michigan's same-sex marriage ban was lifted on March 21,  but as they headed for the door, the ban was reinstated.

Today, they were able to officially tie the knot.

"I’m glad we were seen as actual people to get married today which is great, it felt like I just got welcomed into heaven," Hazelton said.

The two plan to have a larger ceremony in the future.