Columbia church hosts marriage equality reception

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COLUMBIA - Rev. Molly Housh Gordon married a same-sex couple Saturday morning in a meadow. A Columbia church held a reception later that evening. But it wasn't just a normal, planned out ceremony and afterparty. It was part of a national event and it was free. 

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia is participating in "Just Marriage." The event lasts through the weekend and is being put on by the Unitarian Universalist Association. The association has congregations around the country hosting free ceremonies to celebrate the legalization of same-sex marriage.

The Supreme Court ruled June 26, 2015 that all states must legally allow same-sex couples to marry

The free wedding includes the minister's service fee and use of the congregation's space. It does not include invitations, decorations, etc. The event is using "#JustMarriage" on Twitter to share celebrations nationwide.

The Columbia church also held a "Marriage Equality Reception" from 7 to 9 p.m. KOMU 8 News spoke to one person who helped plan the event and she emphasized why she thinks it's important.

"It's important that we show our community that we're an open congregation," Jackie Marcie said. "We appreciate all the families here and families that have taken that step to get married. We wanted to extend our arm to the community and have this reason to celebrate."

Several dozen people attended the event on Saturday. 

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia is also waiving its fees for simple ceremonies for same-sex couples through August. Housh Gordon said the normal fee is around $400. 

"We were expecting a number of couples who have been waiting to get married in their home town, in Columbia, in Boone County, waiting for it to become legal," Housh Gordon said. "So we're hoping to do that and make that as easy as possible for them."

The national Unitarian Universalist Association has publicly supported the practice of marrying same-sex couples since 1984.