Carla Christopher, York City's former poet laureate and its new arts and culture liaison, has found the love of her life.

She's been planning a wedding since March, when Tameca Waid proposed. Ideally, Christopher said, she'd marry Waid in York, her adopted hometown where she's "felt so welcomed."

But, because of Pennsylvania's ban on same-sex marriages, the women had been looking for venues in states where their union would be legally recognized.

"I can't tell you how much that broke my heart," Christopher, 35, said.

Everything changed May 20, when U.S. District Court Judge John Jones III struck down Pennsylvania's 1996 law banning recognition of same-sex marriage, calling it unconstitutional.

Then, on Wednesday, Gov. Tom Corbett announced he would not appeal. That means same-sex marriage will be legal in Pennsylvania, without the threat that a higher court will reinstate the ban.

By Thursday, a wedding in York was no longer out of reach for Christopher and Waid.

"The fact that, during my own engagement, that all of a sudden it becomes possible, it's like, 'Are you kidding?'" Christopher said.

Christopher wants to celebrate.

The event: In just the few days since the judge's decision, she's been scrambling to coordinate an event she's dubbed Equality Fest.

Politicians, organizations and businesses are signing on in droves, Christopher said.

"The outpouring of positive support has been so incredible and unreserved," she said. "I'm so proud of Pennsylvania."

Equality Fest is planned for from noon to 8 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 3, in downtown York.

This isn't just any event with music and political speeches and food trucks, though it will probably have those, too.

Equality Fest will be a public, group wedding for anyone and everyone who wants to get married alongside Christopher and Waid.

Mayor Kim Bracey will officiate, Christopher said.

Christopher said she's witnessed similar group weddings at equality events in other states that have legalized same-sex marriage.

"I never thought that I would be able to take part in something like that in my home state," she said.

Christopher is looking for organizations, companies, performers and couples to get involved.

For more information, contact Christopher at

— Reach Erin James at