PA Couples Elope with Loving Message

Susan Swope & Shirley Tannenbaum | Gettysburg, PA

UPDATED June 2014: Since Susan & Shirley shared their story with Freedom to Marry, same-sex couples in Pennsylvania won the freedom to marry when a federal judge ruled in favor of marriage.

This year, as the conversation about why marriage matters surged across the country, two wonderful same-sex couples from Pennsylvania - Susan & Shirley and Joanne & Linda - crossed state lines in order to declare their commitment to each other and get legally married. 

"For us to marry has become a radical act, as well as a conservative step to protect one another. It was a clear and simple statement in favor of equality."

Inside the courthouse in Frederick, Maryland, boasting Freedom to Marry T-shirts declaring "Love is Love," both couples tied the knot.

"We turned heads with the shirts at the courthouse," Susan laughed.

They celebrated their nuptials later that day with lunch at a Turkish restaurant and later that weekend at their church, the Unitarian Universalist Church in Gettysburg.

One of the couples, Susan Swope and Shirley Tannenbaum, had been together for more than 35 years. But in the Keystone State, where they have built their lives, the women did not have the freedom to marry. 

In Pennsylvania, several lawsuits have been filed seeking the freedom to marry for same-sex couples - and in one case, the ACLU's Whitewood v. Wolf, a ruling could come as early as May 12.

Susan, Shirley, Joanne and Linda know that marriage matters to same-sex couples across Pennsylvania - and that couples like them should have the freedom to marry no matter where they live.

They eloped and took a stand with Freedom to Marry's "Love is Love" shirts because they know that it's time for marriage in the Keystone State.

"For us to marry has become a radical act, as well as a conservative step to protect one another," Susan and Shirley wrote to their friends and family members that afternoon in an email, announcing their legal marriage. "It was a clear and simple statement in favor of equality." 

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