Tying the knot - Dream comes true for local couple

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By Mercy Lopez

Joseph Lovato and Spencer Gallegos never thought the day would come in their hometown. Gallegos and Lovato were one of the six couples to pay a visit to San Miguel County Clerk’s office last week to obtain a same-sex marriage license.

The two, both originally from Las Vegas, were married Thursday morning. For the two, it was a dream come true.

Gallegos and Lovato had no immediate plans to get married, but they jumped at the opportunity to officially commit to one another when they heard that San Miguel County had begun issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

On Tuesday, San Miguel County Clerk Melanie Y. Rivera announced she would join with a handful of other county clerks in the state and issue same-sex marriage licenses.

As of closing time on Friday afternoon, Rivera said six gay and lesbian couples had received marriage licenses, including Gallegos and Lovato.

Currently, six counties are issuing gay and lesbian couples marriage licenses: Bernalillo, Santa Fe, Taos, Doña Ana, San Miguel and Valencia. On Thursday, a judge ordered Los Alamos County Clerk Sharon Stover to start issuing  licenses to same-sex couples as well.

For Lovato and Gallegos, the news that they could legally marry brought tears of joy.  

Gallegos said the decision to get married began with a visit.

“We were just home relaxing and we were going to watch a movie when his mom came over with the (Optic), and I read the article,” Gallegos said. “At first I really didn’t snap and read through it again. Then I called the clerk’s office to make sure and then called my mom.”

Gallegos’ mother, Margaret Gallegos, was returning home from work when she got his call.

Margaret Gallegos said that when she got the call, she did not know that San Miguel County had started issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

“He just called and said they were going to get a marriage license …,” she said “I had just gotten home so I hadn’t read the paper.”

Spencer Gallegos told his mom that they were going to get a marriage license at the San Miguel County Clerk’s Office.

“He got me so excited that I locked my keys in my truck,” she said. “Then I said, ‘Wait a minute, I’ve got to go with you guys.’ So, they had to come and pick me up.” Margaret Gallegos said she insisted on paying for the license.

As the three worked through the marriage license paperwork, they all had smiles and were elated.

“In all my life I never thought it would happen in Las Vegas just because of all the crap I got growing up, but it did,” said Spencer Gallegos, a 2009 graduate of Las Vegas Christian Academy.

Spencer Gallegos and Lovato met 18 months ago. They were introduced to one another my a mutual friend.

The couple exchanged vows during a small ceremony Thursday morning. District Judge Abigail Aragon performed the ceremony in her chambers.

“Officiating weddings is part of my duties as a judge,” Aragon said. “As long as a couple has a valid marriage license from a county clerk I have the responsibility to exercise that privilege of marrying them. It is that simple.”

In a Facebook post, San Miguel Probate Judge Charlynne Otero said she absolutely will perform same-sex marriages.

“I’m happy to,” she wrote. “They say love is blind, (personally I kinda think it’s deaf and dumb in some cases too), but one thing it is not, is biased. So again I say, live and let live.”

Spencer Gallegos plans to take Lovato’s last name.

For the Lovatos their commitment of marriage after being together for a year and six months was a dream come true.

They are planning to have another ceremony later this month, after which they intend to go on a honeymoon to Disney World.

“I love him and that’s why I wanted to get married,” said Lovato, a 1999 graduate of West Las Vegas High School. “I want to spend the rest of my life with him and take care of him. He is the love of my life.”