BALTIMORE, Md. -
Twelve years of dating, and finally the day comes. Helene Coccagna is getting her make-up done by her sister, and her nails are filed by a friend.
"You might think that things aren't possible, but you know if you work on it things can become possible," said Coccagna.
She and her partner Sara Davis worked on the campaign to legalize same-sex marriage. The fight in Maryland went on for several years and finally voters had the final say with over 52% in favor.
They got a marriage license earlier this month. The family will be made official at midnight.
"We used to refer to everyone as our brother-not-in-law or my brother-out-law is also good," they said.
Now the "in-laws" and the entire family surround these two who met in college in Pennsylvania before moving to Baltimore. Putting on their wedding gowns and saying “I do” gives them the same rights as heterosexual couples.
"If I have to go to the hospital, Sara will be the go-to person. I had to have a surgery years ago and I had to do an advance directive to make sure Sara was the person they got in touch with but it was extra paperwork to have to go in. So it feels like a safety net in that way," said Coccagna.
The political struggle was something friends and family never understood.
"My husband Damian and I met in the same year, within just a couple of months within Sara and Helene meeting. And we got married in 2003," said Laura Brady, a longtime friend.
"It has never made sense that two people who love each other don't have the same rights," said Bill Coccagna, Helene's Dad.
Maryland will join nine other states, along with Washington, DC, to recognize gay couples who want to marry.
"I really see it as just a celebration of the life we've created together over all these years,” said Davis.
The couple is getting married in a private ceremony with the reception starting before their wedding vows.
Seven couples are showing up at City Hall where Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will attend the ceremonies set to begin at 12:30 a.m.
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