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Oct 6, 2:34 PM EDT

Same-sex couples start marrying in Virginia

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Just hours after the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way by turning away several appeals, gay couples have started marrying in Virginia.

Thirty-year-old Lindsey Oliver and 42-year-old Nicole Pries received the first same-sex marriage license issued from the Richmond Circuit Court Clerk's office shortly after 1 p.m. Monday.

Upon leaving the courthouse, they were married by gay-rights advocate The Rev. Robin Gorsline.

The couple said Monday also was the anniversary of a commitment ceremony they held on a North Carolina beach three years ago.

Earlier Monday, the Supreme Court unexpectedly and tersely turned away appeals from five states, including Virginia, seeking to prohibit gay and lesbian unions.

Oliver said shortly after her wedding that she believes gay marriage will soon be legal throughout the country.

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