ARIZONA, USA — A landmark bill passed through the Senate earlier this week, protecting same sex and interracial marriage.
The "Respect for Marriage Act" passed in a 61 to 36 vote and will now move forward. For many local couples, this is a big step as they look to tie the knot and share how important this is to protecting love as a whole, which some like Kaylee and Misty said comes from within us all.
"So happy, so pleased and finally feel supported, protected and safe, it's awesome," they said.
12News caught up with the couple at the Rainbow Wedding Network Expo at Superstition Manor in the East Valley. Event Organizer, Marianne Puechl said there was a great turnout and plenty of good vibes after this week's Senate vote.
"Everybody is very excited that the 'Respect for Marriage Act' did pass the Senate, so lots of good vibes going on with that," she said.
Puechl has been in the wedding industry for more than 20 years, hosting more than 350 LGBTQ+ wedding expos nationwide. She said this is something that's important to her, both personally and professionally.
"Couples are happy to meet with vendors face to face and know that they're LGBTQ+ welcoming and want to work with them with respect and joy so, the great atmosphere today. Marriage equality means so much to me and my partner, we had a commitment ceremony in 2000 which was wonderful but not legally binding."
She's been legally married since 2008 by the state of California, which was the same year Arizona voters passed a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage. That changed when a judge ruled that the state's ban was unconstitutional in 2014.
Puechl added, that even with the passing of the marriage act, there's still plenty to be done.
"We've come a long way in 23 years, but there's still work ahead of us, we all have to remain diligent, get out there and vote... keep ourselves informed."
Meanwhile, dozens of happy couples, vendors like Dance with Chad, and event organizers shared similar sentiments, spending the day looking for the perfect cake, photographer and venue.
"The camping trip in Prescott, the whole package, and then Erin the photographer and then the DJ in there for sure, are all vendors we're checking out," Kaylee and Misty said.
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