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      Exclusive: Patricia Todd talks about recent marriage and gay marriage in Alabama

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      Looking over pictures of their Massachusetts wedding, Patricia Todd and her wife, Jennifer Clarke, are enjoying life together as one.{}"We did this because we wanted to make a commitment before our friends, family, and God about our love for each other," said Patricia Todd, Alabama's only openly gay state representative in an exclusive interview with ABC 33/40's Larry Miller. {}{}The wedding was officiated by Clarke's 25 year old daughter. {}Each woman was escorted down the isle by a previous partner. {}They say besides the fact that its two women committing their lives to one another, their relationship is no different than that of a heterosexual couple.{}"We have the same issues that every other couple does; money and all the things. {}But we have a great relationship and a great trust for each other and a great support system. So, we work on everything that we think is an issue." said Todd. {}"I am very proud of my relationship with Patricia. I'm thrilled to be able to make such a public commitment to her," said Jennifer Clarke, Todd's wife.{}{}Todd said she and her wife are just one of hundreds of gay and lesbian couples in Alabama forced to travel to other states in order to get married. {}Alabama's Sanctity of Marriage Amendment defines marriages as a unique relationship between a man and a women. {}The amendment also prohibits gay marriage in the state. Even same-sex marriages performed outside of the Alabama aren't recognized. For gay and lesbian couples, there is no legal protection under the law.{} {}"To have lived in a state that has legal gay marriage and coming to a state that did not offer that has been somewhat of a culture shock for me," said Clarke.{}There have been some successes for same gender loving individuals. In June, the US Supreme Court called the federal government's Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional and dismissed a gay marriage ban in California.{}"I never thought I would get married again but when the Supreme court decision struck down DOMA. It gave me a little ray of hope," said Todd.{}Feeling encourage about the growing acceptance of same-sex marriages and the legal wins in court, Todd prefiled a constitutional amendment that would repeal Alabama's ban on gay marriage. {}She admits the likelihood that it will pass is slim to none. {}If nothing less, the proposed amendment will help ignite a renewed conversation about gay unions.{}"We don't want anything more than any other couple does. {}We just want equality," said Todd.{}Jeremy Rutledge, 24, of Pell City, also has a hand in trying to persuade state leaders to reconsider gay marriage. {}He organized a petition on a website called www.change.org. According Rutledge, he has collected nearly 8,000 signatures. {}The majority of those of signed the petition are from Alabama.{}His goal is 20,000 signatures that he will submit to Governor Robert Bentley's office, who has supported and defined marriage as a relationship between 'a man and a woman'.{}{}"Even though the chances are slim, its something that I feel obligated to fight for because I want that. I want the right to marry whomever I love. {}So, I'm not going to give up," said Rutledge confidently.{}As an openly gay male, Rutledge has endured harassment because of his sexual orientation. He says what people fail to understand is that being gay wasn't something he chose.{}"People are quick to judge you for who you are. They don't realize {}that we're all the same," said Rutledge. {}Todd and Rutledge acknowledge they're fighting an uphill battle in a state deeply rooted in Christian values. {}They say they'll continue to fight for the sake of everyone, gay or straight, who call Alabama home.{}

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