Regional
4:30 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Six-Year-Old Watches Two Mothers Marry

Same-sex couples signed marriage licenses at the Dona Ana County Government building Wednesday after County Clerk Lynn Ellins announced his office would accept them.

One of those couples was Sarah Finke and Heather Oesterreich.

You could say Sarah and Heather have been engaged for eleven years.

“How long have you been waiting for today? -- My lifetime.”

That’s heather Oesterreich. She has been with her partner Sarah Finke these eleven years.

“She called me almost instantaneously…she said I have to finish the fire drill,” said Oesterreich.

Sarah met her in front of the Dona Ana County Government building. Today would be Sarah’s wedding day.

“We don’t know whether to laugh, cry or what to do. It’s just a wonderful feeling to be able to say this is my family.”

They took their vows on the sidewalk under a palm tree.

In the shade of a palm tree outside the county center may not be the ideal place for a dream wedding, but for Sarah and Heather, it didn’t matter. It was special anyway.  

“We really wanted to get married in our church…there might be injunctions against this…so we went ahead and got our kiddo, who’s been wanting us to get married for a long time.”

Their son, Micah, is six.

“It’s all about love and really big waves of love…and the waves are really big. They’re like almost bigger than a hotel.”

He stood by them, looking up at his two moms…now brides.

Same sex marriage licenses are not usually issued in New Mexico, but, right now, New Mexico will recognize such marriages performed in other states.

Dona Ana County clerk Lynn Ellins has been planning to issue these licenses for some time…. enough time to print new documents that no longer say husband and wife. Instead, blanks for spouse and spouse.

“I had the first couple this morning say they’ve been waiting 31 years to do this…and another 43 years…So, it’s time to stop waiting.”

Ellins hopes lower courts will present a case to the state supreme court sooner rather than later.

“I’m not inventing the wheel, hopefully I’m moving it forward…get it up to the Supreme Court so we can finally end it.”

A wedding day a decade in the making turned into a morning as spontaneous as a first date.