Meet the First Same-Sex Couple in the First State to Wed

After a 24-year relationship, Delaware State Senator Karen Peterson and Victoria Bandy are getting married on July 1. That's when same-sex marriage becomes legal in the First State

By Lauren DiSanto
|  Saturday, Jun 29, 2013  |  Updated 5:05 AM PDT
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Meet the First Same-Sex Couple in the First State to Wed

Victoria Bandy (left) sits next to partner of 24 years, Delaware State Senator Karen Peterson (right)

Delaware State Senator Karen Peterson was a co-sponsor of the bill to legalize same-sex marriage in the First State, and she will be the first person to say her "I do's" on July 1.

"It just validates our relationship, and that's the most important part of it: In the eyes of society, it gets validated," said Peterson.

Peterson and her partner of 24 years, Victoria Bandy, will make history as the first same-sex couple to wed in Delaware Monday morning, when they will exchange their vows at the New Castle County Clerk of the Peace in Wilmington, Del.

It's a day she never imagined would come. "Never, ever. I still can't believe it. Who would think at 63 I'd be getting married, you know?" said Peterson.

But the senator says she didn't say yes right away, when Equality Delaware asked her to be first. That's because the Senate's last night in session is Sunday and it usually runs all night.

"I hesitated because I thought, 'well, I'm not even going to be awake.' Sometimes I drive home from Dover when the sun is coming up," said Peterson.

Peterson and Bandy's wedding ceremony will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Monday morning.

Later that evening, after Peterson sleeps off her Senate all-nighter, they will celebrate with family and friends at their wedding reception.

"It's a real thrill, it's a thrill for both of us. It's not something that we ever expected in our lifetimes, but it means a lot personally and financially," said Peterson.

On June 26, the Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which barred married same-sex couples from receiving federal benefits.

This is the icing on the wedding cake for same-sex couples in Delaware, less than a week before gay marriage becomes legal there.

Peterson said after the rulings came down, she got a note from a friend that said: "What a great wedding gift you got from the Supreme Court." She agrees.

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