Equality comes to the city of brotherly love

Philadelphia John F. Reynolds statue

On the afternoon of May 20, 2014, a federal judge struck down Pennsylvania’s Defense Of Marriage Act, bringing marriage equality to same-sex couples in the Quaker State. I went down to City Hall in Philadelphia to photograph some of the couples who had gathered to apply for the licenses they were finally able to receive and asked them to share their favorite thing about each other.

Philadelphia Orphan's Court blue sign

After 5 years, Lindsay and Ashley married the first minute they could, at midnight on Friday.

Philadelphia Lindsay and Ashley #oy

Ashley and Lindsay wrote down their favorite thing about each other and showed each other.

Philadelphia Lindsay and Ashley seo

Then shared with me.

Philadelphia Lindsay and Ashley show us

Because of the mandated waiting period, couples only got blank licenses to fill out during the actual marriage ceremony, but that meant Joe and Steve could show off their form without revealing personal information. Yay! How could a piece of yellow paper be simultaneously the least and most exciting thing ever?

Philadelphia Joe and Steve showing marriage license

Philadelphia Joe and Steve talking to media (includes view of camera crew)

Philadelphia Joe and Steve number of years

Philadelphia Joe and Steve show us

Philadelphia Paul and Jason (they're flight attendants) #oy

They’re both flight attendants. Really.

Philadelphia Paul and Jason seo

Philadelphia Paul and Jason show us

Philadelphia Alnardo and Anthony #oy (better)

Philadelphia Alnardo and Anthony seo

I loved when Alnardo couldn’t stop looking at Anthony.

Philadelphia Alnardo and Anthony show us (better)

William and Paul couldn’t stop smiling at each other either.

Philadelphia William and Paul smile applying for license

More license show-and-tell.

Philadelphia William and Paul kiss and hold up marriage license

Philadelphia William and Paul #oy

Philadelphia William and Paul seo

Philadelphia William and Paul show us

Philadelphia Roy and David #oy

Philadelphia Roy and David seo

Philadelphia Roy and David show us

Philadelphia Sheri and Meredith #oy

Philadelphia Sheri and Meredith show us

Philadelphia Chris and Oscar  #oy (better photo)

Philadelphia Chris and Oscar  seo

Philadelphia Chris and Oscar  show us

Philadelphia Eddie and Derek #oy

Philadelphia Eddie and Derek seo

Philadelphia Eddie and Derek show us

Philadelphia Sarah and Ryan #oy (dark)

Philadelphia Sarah and Ryan show us (dark)

Philadelphia Laura and Cat #oy

Philadelphia Laura and Cat seo

Philadelphia Laura and Cat show us (better photo)

There was a rally that night.

Philadelphia rally shot (decent)Bill Slimback and Bob Sullivan, the first same-sex couple couple to marry in Vermont, were there celebrating!

Philadelphia Bill and Bob (first VT civil union)

Philadelphia Bill and Bob show us (better)

Here’s a close-up of Bill’s sign

Philadelphia Bill and Bob close-up of sign 2

“Which number should we use?” “Put them both!”

Philadelphia Zach and Evan #oy

Philadelphia Zach and Evan seo

Philadelphia Zach and Evan show us

I was an equal-opportunity photographer.

Philadelphia Becky and Sara (friends)

Philadelphia Becky and Sara (friends) laughing at signs

Philadelphia Becky and Sara (friends) close up of sign

Philadelphia Becky and Sara (friends) close up of sign 2

Philadelphia Laura and Mary enGAYed sign

Philadelphia Laura and Mary show us and kissingPhiladelphia Laura and Mary show us

Philadelphia Tracy (her hair!) and Ariel

Philadelphia Tracy and Ariel show us 2Philadelphia Tracy and Ariel kiss on cheek

Philadelphia Tracy and Arieln close up on sign

Philadelphia Gina and Rachel #oy

Philadelphia Gina and Rachel seo (better)

Philadelphia Gina and Rachel show us (better)

City Hall had late hours the next night. They set up chairs for couples to sit in while they waited to  be seen by a clerk.

Philadelphia Orphan's Court numbered chairs

Business as usual for most of the day.

Philadelphia Paul and Dennie applying for license

Philadelphia Michael, Don, lesbian couple - first time all day that two gay couples were sitting next to each other

Michael and Don did an excited interview after they applied.

Philadelphia Michael and Don interviewed by media best photo

They both took this pretty seriously

Philadelphia Michael and Don thinking 1

Philadelphia Michael and Don show us 2

Philadelphia Paul and Dennie #oy

Philadelphia Paul and Dennie seo laughing

Philadelphia Paul and Dennie show us

Philadelphia Paul and Dennie 'That's not how you spell kooky'

“Dennie, that’s not how you spell kooky!”

Philadelphia Tom and Alfred #oy (better)

Philadelphia Tom and Alfred seo

Philadelphia Tom and Alfred show us

Then people got off work, and the room started to look like this:

Philadelphia all seats full

At 6:06, the line went out the door.

Philadephia 'At 6;06, the line went out the door

Philadelphia Chris and Keith #oy

Philadelphia Chris and Keith seo

Philadelphia Chris and Keith show us

Philadelphia Adam and Justin #oy

Philadelphia Adam and Justin smiling at camera with white boards

“Can I write something sassy?”

Philadelphia Adam and Justin show us

Justin and Adam had a mini-reunion with friends.

Philadelphia Adam and Justin see friends 2

Philadelphia Adam and Justin see friends

Philadelphia Adam and Justin hug friends

Philadelphia Patrick and Sampath #oy (dark photo)

Philadelphia Patrick and Sampath seo (dark photo)

Philadelphia Patrick and Sampath show us

Philadelphia Kristin and Catherine #oy

Philadelphia Kristin and Catherine seo

Philadelphia Kristin and Catherine show us

“We’re not supposed to show each other, right?” “Right, not yet.” “OK.”

Philadelphia Corey Jessica (Jessica turns away)


Philadelphia Corey Jessica (Corey cheats!)

No peeking!

Philadelphia Corey Jessica (Jessica cheats!)

Philadelphia Corey Jessica show us and each other

Philadelphia Daniel and Leon #oy

Philadelphia Daniel and Leon seo (bad pic)

Philadelphia Daniel and Leon show us 2 (better pic)

Philadelphia Sarah and Maura #oy

Philadelphia Sarah and Maura seo

Philadelphia Sarah and Maura show us

Philadelphia Robert and Anthony #oy

Philadelphia Robert and Anthony show us

Philadelphia Gregory and Daniel #oy

Philadelphia Gregory and Daniel show us - both wrote dedication

Great minds think alike!

Philadelphia Gloria and Lori #oy

Philadelphia Gloria and Lori seo

Philadelphia Gloria and Lori show us

Philadelphia Jim and Joe #oy

Philadelphia Jim and Joe show us (better)

Philadelphia Jeff and Omar #oy (lousy photo)

Philadelphia Jeff and Omar show us (lousy photo)

Philadelphia Jack and Michael #oy

Philadelphia Jack and Michael show us

Philadelphia Abny and Jordan seo

Philadelphia Allyssa and Chris #oy

Philadelphia Allyssa and Chris show us

Sharon and Leann at the clerk’s desk.

Philadelphia Sharon and Leeann apply for license

Philadelphia Sharon and Leeann show us

Ta-da! Thanks, Philly! Congrats to all the happy couples I photographed and the many more I was not able to. I’m sorry I missed Pride!


2 thoughts on “Equality comes to the city of brotherly love

    1. katerkramer Post author

      Hi John! I had a minor panic attack after I was kicked out for soliciting when I thought I’d lost the files, but I found them in another folder. I’m renaming things now and hope to have the HRC photos up by the end of the weekend. Sorry for the delay!


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