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First Arctic same-sex weddings? Couples marry in tiny rural Alaska town

Nick Duffy October 15, 2014
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Alaska’s first same-sex weddings have taken place – and they’re possibly the most remote gay weddings ever in the US.

Sarah Palin’s home state announced plans to wed couples over the weekend, after district court judge Timothy Burgess ruled its ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

The state began accepting applications for marriage licenses from gay couples on Monday, but the first weddings were set for tomorrow, due to a three-day legal notice period.

However, Magistrate Mary Treiber in the remote town of Barrow – which has a population of less than 4500 – waived the notice period for two couples allowing them to marry on Monday because it fit their schedules better.

Bernice Oyagak married partner Kelly Cahoon, while Kristine Hilderbrand tied the knot with parter Sarah Ellis.

The town, on Alaska’s Arctic coast, is 320 miles north of the Arctic circle, and 1,300 miles from the North Pole.

It is so remote that no roads to connect it to the rest of Alaska, with residents rely on a small airport.

Mrs Hilderbrand said: “I think the scene is different up here.

“The fact that we’re in a relationship together and have been for the last six years in this town, people have just been very accepting and it is just what it is.

“It’s been such a non-issue here for so long that we were really more focused on getting married and getting to spend the rest of our lives together. We really weren’t concerned about all the politics.”

Related topics: Alaska, Barrow, Gay, US, wedding

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