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Same-sex couples begin marrying in Vermont

BURLINGTON, Vt., Sept. 1 (UPI) -- Two men married a minute after midnight Tuesday, becoming the first same-sex couple to be legally wed in the state of Vermont, officials said.

Bob Sullivan and Bill Slimback were pronounced husband and husband at 12:01 a.m. EDT, a minute after Vermont's same-sex marriage law took effect, WCAX-TV, Burlington, Vt., reported.

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Sullivan and Slimback were married in Waterbury by Justice of the Peace Greg Trulson. "I feel like we've been in line for 17 years," Sullivan said.

The newlyweds met in 1992 in their native Philadelphia, both having suffered discrimination, even violence, for being gay, they said.

Monday night, more than 400 people gathered at Burlington's First Congregational Church to affirm support for the law and oppose a group of protesters from Kansas, the Burlington (Vermont) Free Press reported Tuesday.

The protesters, from Fred Phelp's Westboro Baptist Church, in Topeka, had vowed to picket throughout what they said was the most gay friendly state in America, the Free Press reported.

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