Couple hopes one day state will recognize marriage -, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Couple hopes one day state will recognize marriage

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Ryan Wilson and Shehan Welihindha on their wedding day (Source: Ryan Wilson) Ryan Wilson and Shehan Welihindha on their wedding day (Source: Ryan Wilson)

"I didn't think it would happen soon and then it did."

Getting legally married for Ryan Wilson and Shehan Welihindha was just a dream four years ago.

"We've sort of been waiting for the right opportunity to get married since then," said Wilson.

They had to travel to Wilson's home state of Maryland. In November, voters there passed the Civil Marriage Protection Act which took effect on New Year's Day.

"We found out on Friday before Christmas that yes, we were on the list of couples that could get married," said Wilson.

On January 1st, at Baltimore City Hall in front of friends, family and the media, seven couples got married, including Welihindha and Wilson.

"We walked into those chambers with all those lights on, the flashes going off," Welihindha. "It was very surreal. It started to feel like I was dreaming that it wasn't really happening."

But it was real.

"Here's to our own chapter in the history books," they said on their wedding day.

"Then hearing those words 'by the power invested in me by the state of Maryland,'" said Welihindha, "It was like, 'wow this really just happened and we just got married.'"

And they have a marriage certificate to prove it.

"Regardless of how the state of South Carolina would view our relationship, I would want to be able to say we're legally married somewhere," said Wilson. "That's really important to me."

They believe the Defense of Marriage Act, defining marriage as only between one man and one woman, will be repealed one day. When that happens, they hope South Carolina will recognize their marriage.

Until then…

"I want to make sure I have the legal status prepared ahead of time for when that day comes," said Wilson.

"This is something that we want to show the world," said Welihindha. "Our relationship is equal to a straight couple's and that we wanted to be treated with equality."

"Everyone's relationships are just about love," said Wilson. "And the person you love it shouldn't matter if you wanna' marry that person you should be allowed to do it."

Ryan and Shehan are both active in the LGBT community. They plan to continue fighting for marriage equality.

This spring, the Supreme Court will take up the controversial topic of same sex marriage.  They will be deciding if the federal definition of marriage is constitutional.

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