December 30, 2012

One couple's march to matrimony

Lisa Gorney and Donna Galluzzo acknowledge: 'It really was a historic night.'

By Matt Byrne
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 2)

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Portland newlyweds Donna Galluzzo, left, and Lisa Gorney share their first kiss as a married couple on the steps of Portland City Hall at 1:45 a.m. Saturday.

Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer

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Donna Galluzzo, 49, left, and Lisa Gorney, 45, who have been together for three years, visit Portland City Hall on Wednesday ahead of their weekend wedding to select a spot for the ceremony, settling on the building's interior curving marble staircase.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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Same-sex marriage became legal in Maine at 12:01 a.m. Saturday. Here’s an unofficial tally of licenses obtained and wedding ceremonies held, according to municipal officials in these communities:

AUGUSTA: three licenses

BANGOR: four licenses (three ceremonies)

BREWER: one license

BRUNSWICK: seven licenses

FALMOUTH: three licenses (two ceremonies)

FREEPORT: two licenses

GARDINER: one license

HALLOWELL: one license

PORTLAND: 15 licenses (six ceremonies)

SOUTH PORTLAND: seven licenses (three ceremonies)

Gorney grew up in Caribou, where as a child and teenager she was bereft of any gay and lesbian presence. When anyone mentioned homosexuality, people sometimes jeered, she said.

"No one talked about it," Gorney recalled. In town, one woman, a teacher, was known to be gay, and she was the subject of ridicule.

"People would drive by her house and be like, 'Oh my God, there is one gay person in our town."'

Gorney's world opened up when she attended the University of Maine in Presque Isle. She made friends who were gay, and realized there were other ways to live happily and be loved.

But it was knowledge she felt she could not share with her family.

For eight years Gorney kept her sexual orientation a secret. She feared that her father, Art Gorney, chief of police in Caribou for 15 years, would not be receptive.

When she ended the deception in 1991, she first told her mother, Betty Gorney. Her initial response was anger at her daughter's reluctance to be honest with her family. It also meant there would be no wedding, no grandchildren, no picture-perfect nuclear family.

It took two months before her mother fully digested the news. Gorney said she never directly told her father, but that he slowly acknowledged her lifestyle in little ways.

Betty Gorney, who died in 1997 at 50, gave her husband words of advice.

"Before she died, (my mother) told my father, 'you have to love your daughter no matter what,' " Lisa Gorney said.

It is an edict Art Gorney has stuck to. He said he is happy his daughter found someone who cares for her so deeply, and said Galluzzo is a "tremendous" force in Gorney's life.

"The world's changing," said Art Gorney, 66, from his home in Henderson, Nev. He can't deny that he still feels a longing for grandchildren, but said his daughter's happiness is more important to him.

"I support her in whatever she does," Art Gorney said. "She's found somebody who loves her. Who are we to say that's not right?"

Staff Writer Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:


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Additional Photos

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Donna Galluzzo rests her chin on Lisa Gorney's shoulder as they wait to get their marriage license at the Office of the City Clerk.

Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer

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Lisa Gorney and Donna Galluzzo, both of Portland, arrive in style – complete with red carpet – at Portland City Hall late Friday night, shortly before the 12:01 a.m. moment Saturday when same-sex marriage would become legal in Maine. Supporters gathered outside cheered their arrival.

Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer

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The women's hands touch over their "Intentions of Marriage" form outside the Office of the City Clerk in Portland. Donna Galluzzo and Lisa Gorney were among 15 couples to seek licenses and about a half-dozen to wed early Saturday.

Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer

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