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Gay Couple Together Nearly 55 Years 1st To Marry In Dallas County

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UPDATE (June 26, 2015 4:30pm): Jack Evans, 85, and George Harris, 82, spoke live exclusively with Kaley O'Kelley at 4:oopm Friday.  Here is that interview.

DALLAS COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) - It was in February of 2014 when Dallas couple Jack Evans and George Harris decided to get married. The couple decided to make the move one day after then-Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott filed a notice of appeal on a federal judge's ruling declaring the Texas ban on gay marriage to be unconstitutional.

But that was last year! Today, June 26, 2015, Jack and George were the first couple to get married in Dallas County, after the United States Supreme Court declared that same-sex couples have the constitutional right to marry.

There were few dry eyes in the room as the couple, who have been together for some 55 years, became a part of a binding, legal union.

first DALCO license - Jack Evans - George Harris
Pioneering gay Dallas couple George Harris (L) and Jack Evans (R) (credit: CBSDFW.COM)

The ceremony performed last year was officiated by retired Northaven United Methodist Church Reverend William McElvaney. But because United Methodist Church law prevents its churches from hosting same-sex marriages, the service was be held at Midway Hills Christian Church. At the time Reverend McElvaney, a staunch LGBT equal rights supporter, spoke about laws denying same-sex unions.  "I think it takes courage to make change. That's always been true."

That time of change is now apparently upon us. As Jack and George made their way inside the Dallas County Records Building Jack jokes, "I can finally go home and tell my family!"

When CBS 11 News sat down with the couple earlier this year they talked about how times had changed since 1961 -- the year they met and when their lifestyle was illegal. Jack recalled once when Dallas police set up a sting operation targeting the gay community. "The police set up a party afterwards," he said. "Once everybody got there, the police backed up a paddy wagon and arrested 29 people before they could get out the back door or hop out a window. [They] published their names in the Dallas Times Herald the next day, on a Sunday morning. Every one of those guys had to leave the city."

On Friday, Judge Dennise Garcia, a member of their Northhaven church where they couldn't have a wedding last year, joined the couple together in marriage.

Jack Evans, 85, and George Harris, 82, spoke live exclusively with Kaley O'Kelley at 4:oopm Friday.  Here is that interview.

"We waited long enough," said Harris, who also called this "the greatest day" of his life.

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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