Renewals of vows highlight of York Equality Fest


What is love?

York County residents Peg and Delma Welch think of it in three ways:

Commitment, time together and flowers in their hair.

The couple has been together for 25 years. They met while at a YWCA.

They always wanted to get married. They tried three times.

The first time was during a protest rally in Washington, D.C., in the 1990s.

The second was in Canada in the 2000s when same-sex marriage became legalized there.

The third was in Pennsylvania in 2014.

"We just wanted to be together," Delma Welch said. "To show our commitment to each other."

On Sunday, they renewed their vows during York Equality Fest in downtown York.

Their friends joked that through all the times, they never once got divorced.

"Still together," they said.

The second annual festival aims to promote equality for those in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

"And we had a lot to celebrate," said organizer Carla Christopher. "I never dreamed that in one year we would all have the freedom to marry."

Still, she said, there is more work to do.

Renewals: To commemorate the day, the Welch family, along with others, decided to renew their vows.

Christa and Mark Raught of York City decided to renew to show their children the importance of acceptance.

"We wanted to set an example," Christa Raught said. "It was great that our family was here."

Mark Raught said his wife saw the posting on Facebook.

"And the next day we were signed up to take part," he laughed.

George and Lynnore Seaton of Lewisberry also renewed because they are supporters of same-sex marriage.

"I'm a lawyer and work with clients seeking help," Lynnore Seaton said. "I thought this was a great way for us to show how we want equality."

Levine: Dr. Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania's physician general, said she hopes more is done to make the world more accepting for those who feel different.

Levine was the first transgendered person to be appointed to the governor's cabinet in Pennsylvania.

"We are not done yet," she said. "But we are on our way."

Levine and others called the wedding an act of courage, stating that while same-sex couples can marry, in Pennsylvania they also can lose their jobs.

Christopher said the idea for the festival came out of talks with York County leaders, who supported it from the beginning.

"That type of support is priceless," she said.

The festival drew hundreds of visitors.

— Contact Sara Blumberg at