Couple takes Lewiston’s first marriage license under same-sex law

Posted Dec. 31, 2012, at 8:35 p.m.

LEWISTON, Maine — There wasn’t any fanfare Monday morning when Jeffery Padham and Todd Severance came by to pick up their marriage license.

“We didn’t know what to expect,” Severance, 43, said. “We didn’t know if there was going to be a line or what was going to be going on.”

But the two were the only people in line at 8 a.m. Monday when the City Clerk’s office opened for business. They filled out the form, paid their fee and walked out with a marriage license.

They planned an afternoon ceremony with a handful of family later on Monday.

“We’ve got about 20 coming,” Padham said. “They’ll all fit in the dining room.”

It was the first marriage license issued to a same-sex couple in Lewiston, under a new law approved by voters in November.

They weren’t the first in Maine. That honor went to couples in Portland, Falmouth Augusta, Bangor and Brunswick. The clerks’ offices in those towns opened for special hours on Saturday — with both Portland and Falmouth opening the moment the new law took effect, at midnight.

Padham said they thought about making the trip to Portland on Saturday.

“It would have been nice to get the license then,” Padham said. “It would have been one less thing to worry about today, before the ceremony. We still have a lot to do, and it would have been one thing off of our mind.”

But the crowds, the TV cameras and all the fuss convinced them to stick closer to home. The were in line as soon as the Lewiston City Hall doors opened at 7:45 a.m.

“It actually worked out well for us,” Padham said. “I got to work Saturday for overtime and a good reason to take today off at regular time.”

Padham, 45, and Severance, 43, have been together for 14 years. They own a couple of properties and a Nichols Street home and are as committed to each other as two people can be.

“I get the question from people, why a civil union wasn’t sufficient if it’s basically the same thing,” Padham said. “My response is, if it has a different name then it’s not the same — by definition. It’s obviously a different thing.”

Neither was involved in promoting the vote, however.

“Nothing but the voting process,” Padham said. “I used to be political, but not anymore. Now I’m just worried about paying the bills and keeping my tenants happy.”

It’s a practical decision with practical impacts. Padham said he’s not sure how the couple will handle their income tax filings in April. He assumes they’ll file the state return as couple but their federal return as individuals.

“So I really don’t know what impact the federal filing status will have on our state taxes,” Padham said. “Our primary motivation for today is to get him on my health insurance. Other than that, we probably would be waiting until our actual anniversary, which is Halloween.”

They’ll be married by Padham’s uncle, with brothers and sisters watching.

“We just want to keep it small this time,” Severance said. “We’ll probably have a larger reception for friends and everyone at Halloween.”

staylor@sunjournal.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

 

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