Pride kicked off in Tampa Thursday when four LGBTQ+ couples got married in an outdoor ceremony hosted by the Hillsborough County Clerk of Court.
Among the couples were Shakinna and Angel Thompson and Laura and Tiffani Connor.
Speaking to local affiliate Spectrum News, Angel Thompson remarked on the joyfulness of the occasion, in contrast to the environment in which she’d grown up. “I grew up in Mississippi, and I’ve gotten beaten up for being gay,” she said. “I’ve had people look at me like I have three heads for holding my girlfriend’s hand.”
Spectrum reports that for the couple, “Getting married Thursday was a dream come true,” with Shakinna telling the affiliate, “There was a point in time that we weren’t recognized. Our love wasn’t recognized.”
She added, “At a certain point, judgment and hate crime came into play, and knowing that our community supports us just as much as we support our community, it means everything.”
LOVE IS FEELING SAFE
Angel and Shakinna sealed that with a kiss and rings in Downtown Tampa in an outdoor wedding ceremony.
Congrats to all the gay and lesbian couples who vowed to love one other unconditionally today.
— Katya Guillaume (@KatyaonTV) June 2, 2022
Newsbreak reports that the ceremony is tradition of sorts: When Florida joined other states in legalizing gay marriage seven year earlier, the then-clerk of the court Pat Frank promptly held an outdoor ceremony in that same courthouse square with dozens of couples there to make it official.
“This is a wonderful day for America,” Frank said at the time.
This year’s ceremony, smaller than the original, was performed by current clerk Cindy Stuart.
Friends and family were also on hand to celebrate with the happy couples.