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November 18, 2018

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Frustration, then elation: Gay couples begin to tie the knot in Las Vegas

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L.E. Baskow

Theodore Small and Antioco Carillo-Miramonts are the first in Clark County to receive a same-sex marriage certificate Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014, at the Marriage License Bureau.

Updated Friday, Oct. 10, 2014 | 12:30 a.m.

Same-Sex Marriage Licenses Issued

Antioco Carillo-Miramonts and Theodore Small are the first in Clark County to receive a same-sex marriage certificate Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014, at the Marriage License Bureau. Launch slideshow »

Surrounded by a crush of news cameras, Antioco Carrillo and Theo Small grinned and posed with the single-page document they'd fought two years to obtain.

Their Las Vegas-issued marriage license — a certificate that took 10 minutes to process and bears little more than their names and home towns — served as a tangible token of their victory over a constitutional amendment that banned same-sex couples from marrying in Nevada for more than a decade.

"It's a dream, really," said Small, who is among 16 plaintiffs who successfully sued Nevada over the 2002 ban. "It's honoring and humbling."

Their license, the first issued in Clark County, also symbolized the end of a tense two-day waiting period for engaged same-sex couples who were left in limbo across Nevada amid a flurry of legal wrangling this week.

The first same-sex couple to wed in Las Vegas, the so-called marriage capital of the world, were state Sen. Kelvin Atkison and Sherwood Howard. They were married on the steps outside the bureau during a brief ceremony ordained by Clark County District Court Judge Nancy Allf.

"When you have an opportunity to make history, you can't pass that up," Atkison said. "It took a lot of courage, strength, money and time for the plaintiffs to make this happen."

At least 10 couples waited for hours Thursday to be first in line when U.S. Judge James C. Mahan signed an injunction of the state's constitutional amendment that prohibits gay marriage.

They hugged, cried and took selfies after learning of the judge's order shortly before 5 p.m. At the end of the day, the county had issued 40 licenses.​

In Carson City, the clerk began issuing same-sex licenses about 3:30 p.m., The Reno Gazette-Journal reported. The Nevada Appeal reported that Kristy Best and Wednesday Smith were the first same-sex couple to get a marriage license.

“This action brings finality to the issue of same sex marriage in Nevada,” said Gov. Brain Sandoval in a statement about an hour after news of the injunction broke.

Carrillo and Small, who met 18 years ago while doing volunteer work for the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Las Vegas, kissed people on their way out of the building after finishing their paperwork.

"It's amazing. It's unbelievable. It's great. I love that I get to spend the rest of my life with the man that I love," Carrillo said. "We hope that younger generations live a life where we are all equal."

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