Christina Evansky (L) exchanges rings with her partner, Christiina Blackshire (R) Thursday evening in the North Manchester law office of Elden E. Stoops Jr. Stoopes (C) was appointed judge pro tem of Wabash Circuit Court from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday so he could marry a family friend. After Evansky and Blackshire applied for a marriage license in the Kosciusko Clerk’s Office, he then agreed to marry the Warsaw couple. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union
Christina Evansky (L) exchanges rings with her partner, Christiina Blackshire (R) Thursday evening in the North Manchester law office of Elden E. Stoops Jr. Stoopes (C) was appointed judge pro tem of Wabash Circuit Court from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday so he could marry a family friend. After Evansky and Blackshire applied for a marriage license in the Kosciusko Clerk’s Office, he then agreed to marry the Warsaw couple. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union
A day after Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage was struck down, the Kosciusko County Clerk of Courts’ office issued marriage licenses for four same-sex couples Thursday.
At least one of those couples also held a wedding ceremony last night. A fifth couple applied for a license early this morning.
Christina Evansky and her partner, Christiina Blackshire, both of Warsaw, were married at 7 p.m. Thursday in the law office of Elden E. Stoops Jr., 204 W. Main St., North Manchester.
Stoops was appointed judge pro tem of Wabash Circuit Court from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday so he could perform the marriage of a family friend. After Evansky and Blackshire applied for a marriage license from the Kosciusko clerk’s office, Stoops then agreed to also marry the Warsaw couple last night.
“I feel ecstatic,” Evansky, 51, said after the ceremony. “This is the first time I’ve ever been married and (she) is the reason why. I’ve waited for her for my entire life.”
Blackshire, 53, her partner for three years, said after the ceremony, “It feels good. I don’t know what the word is – it’s like everything we worked for paid off.”
Tiffany Stanton, their daughter, said she felt the same elation as her mothers.
“It’s really important to me to see how happy they are after all the things they went through to get here,” she said.
US Southern District Court Judge Richard L. Young Wednesday struck down Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage in a ruling that immediately allowed gay couples to wed. The ruling also said Indiana must recognize same-sex marriages performed outside the state.
The Indiana Attorney General’s office appealed the ruling late Wednesday, but Kosciusko Clerk of Courts Ann Torpy said Thursday that the attorney general’s office contacted her around 9:30 a.m. and said her office should issue the licenses until a stay is granted on the ruling.
Evansky and Blackshire applied for theirs at 3 p.m. Thursday. With them were Stanton and a friend, Karen Kusserow.
“I just offered to pay their license fee,” Kusserow said at the clerk’s office. She  had met Evansky and Blackshire at the Diversity Rally in Warsaw in April and wanted to be part of the celebration. Kusserow’s daughter also is a lesbian, she said, so it’s a personal issue.
“I’m just a firm believer in equality. Marriage equality is just a small part of it and it’s one that’s been lagging behind in the state of Indiana,” Kusserow said.
The couple was also pleased with the reception they received in the clerk’s office.
“It was nice we didn’t meet any resistance because we were expecting that,” Blackshire said.
“I feel great and the lady (in the clerk’s office) was wonderful,” Evansky said.
Blackshire said they were part of efforts last fall to reject the constitutional amendment that would have limited marriage in Indiana between one man and one woman. To now be getting married in this state instead of traveling to Chicago for it is exciting, she said.
“We do count. We are a family,” Evansky said.