South Bend, Ind. A federal appeals court has halted same-sex marriages in Indiana, two days after judge's order striking down the state's gay marriage ban.
One South Bend couple wed Friday evening in a ceremony officiated by South Bend Deputy Mayor Mark Neal may have just beat the deadline.
Mary and Linda Ponterio were married at the Mayor's office at 5:51 p.m. Many questions now surround the validity of marriages performed before the hold was issued, but participants believe the Ponterio's ceremony was just in time.
"I'm disappointed a federal appeals court brought same-sex marriages to a halt this evening," said Neal in a statement after the ceremony. "I was honored to officiate the marriage of a South Bend couple and I hope the legal process will protect the rights of more couples to have the same opportunity."
The couple of five years said their walk down the aisle could not have come soon enough.
"I feel so loved," Linda Ponterio said. "I am so loved, this is an amazing commitment between us and to celebrate with the whole community -- it's incredible, it's the experience of a lifetime."
The couple said they considered moving away from Indiana when other states started overturning their bans.
"We really seriously did consider moving to a state that was friendly to us where we had some sort of legal protections," Mary Ponterio said.
Wednesday's U.S. District Court ruling meant more than just marriage for same-sex couples in Indiana . It also allowed those partners to file joint tax returns, receive pension benefits and list their partners as spouses on death certificates.
In the wake of Friday's Circuit Court decision to halt same-sex marriages, the group Hoosiers Unite for Marriage issued this statement:
“We are extremely disappointed that the court has issued this stay, and we are committed to protecting the freedom to marry in Indiana. Hundreds of loving, committed couples were finally able to join in marriage this week, and we delivered more than 12,000 petition signatures today asking Attorney General Greg Zoeller not to pursue any appeals of the ruling overturning the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.
More than anything, this is a terrible blow to the legally wedded Indiana couples and their families who were finally — after so long — recognized this week under Indiana law."