Decatur County issues first same-sex marriage license

Published 5:20 pm Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Cheryl “Charlie” Cook and Karen Barfield have been together for more than two decades, and on July 24, they became the recipients of Decatur County’s first same-sex marriage license.

Cook proposed to Barfield as the June 26 news of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision on same-sex marriage shook the nation. For many it was bad news, but for Cook and Barfield, it was a “big relief.”

“It feels like a big relief,” Barfield said. “Now I can say, ‘That’s my wife.’”

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The couple had no problems in getting a license and said that the process was simple and the court staff was “so sweet,” but finding a local officiant to perform the ceremony was challenging, Barfield said.

“It’s still going to be hard here, because you’ve got a lot of people who won’t marry same-sex,” Barfield said.

Cook said that everything has been pretty much the same, because the couple has been living together for 21 years, but Barfield hopes that their marriage has a positive impact on their adopted son.

Barfield said they had a bad experience with a local daycare center when its operators found out the child had two mothers and was asked to not come back after three days.

“In the future, maybe he won’t have to deal with that,” Barfield said. “That’s the good thing about it. Being the first ones in Bainbridge means we made history.”

“I am who I am, and I take care of my family. This family chose me a long time ago,” Cook said.