WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — Valentine’s Day was a tale of two cities for same-sex couples looking to exchange their wedding vows in the D.C. area.

On one side of the Potomac River, Arlington County Circuit Court Clerk Paul Ferguson expressed sympathy Thursday toward the three same-sex couples who were denied an application for a marriage license, as per Virginia law.

“Unfortunately, Virginia law does not allow me to grant a marriage license to same-sex couples,” Ferguson told the couples who applied for a marriage license on the courthouse steps Tuesday. “I know it’s hard to come forward and be turned down. It takes courage.”

The public rejections were planned by People of Faith for Equality in Virginia, an interfaith coalition of clergy and laypeople working for LGBT equality in the state. About 50 people gathered at the courthouse to support the couples.

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On the other side of the river, in the nation’s capital, where same-sex couples are permitted to marry, the D.C. Marriage Bureau performed 14 civil marriages, a record number of weddings on Valentine’s Day.

Two men, Michael Loster and Steven Jarvis, said ‘I do’ in a room decorated with red and pink hearts. The newlyweds said they feel for same-sex couples in Virginia — they’re from Pennsylvania and when they go home, their marriage won’t be recognized by law, either.

WNEW’s Kimberly Suiters contributed to this report. Follow her on Twitter.

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