Gay Marriages Resume in California after Five-Year Hiatus

Same-sex unions rushed to marry after a court’s decision that lifted the state’s five-year ban on gay marriage in the wake of landmark rulings at the Supreme Court earlier this week.

Numerous gay pairs – some in shorts and jeans, some in their work clothes – rushed to be wed in California on Friday. Photo: flaneur_foto/Flickr

On a balcony with a great view of San Francisco City Hall, an ornate space that has long been a magnet for weddings, the pair whose case greatly influenced Wednesday’s Supreme Court decision exchanged vows.

The ceremony was officiated by state Attorney General Kamala Harris, and the ring bearer was the couple’s 18-year-old son, reports Reuters.

“This is the first day of the rest of our lives together,” said Kristin Perry, who with her girlfriend, Sandy Stier, filed the lawsuit against DOMA, the ballot initiative that outlawed same-sex marriage in California in 2008.

“They have waited and fought for this moment,” said State Attorney General Kamala Harris who presided at the wedding. “Today their wait is finally over.”

Stier turned to the horde of reporters and well-wishers crowding the room and said, smiling: “Thank you so much for coming to our wedding.”

Four hundred miles from San Francisco, Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo, a second couple who attened the Wednesday’s hearing as plaintiffs in the case, wed at City Hall in Los Angeles.

“You are just as in love today as you were when you met 12 years ago,” Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who conducted the ceremony, told the two men.

Today couples rushed upon San Francisco City Hall, and California Governor Jerry Brown had ordered county clerks throughout the state to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

Cassie Coleman and Rosa Sanchez were at work when the learned the news that the Supreme Court delivered a verdict. They called each other and arrangement to meet at City Hall, and called their mothers to ask permission. They got some roses – red and pink.

“That was it,” Sanchez said. “We just jumped in.”

The impromptu weddings and the jubilant participation by public officials prompted tonns of critics of those who oppose same-sex marriages.

“This outrage tops off a chronic pattern of lawlessness, throughout this case, by judges and politicians hell-bent on thwarting the vote of the people to redefine marriage by any means, even outright corruption,” said Andy Pugno, general counsel for the Coalition.

However, he didn’t mention that he was going to continue his fight over the same-sex couples’ marriage.

“It remains to be seen whether the fight can go on, but either way, it’s a disgraceful day for California,” he said.

John Eastman, a constitutional law professor at Chapman University who highly opposed legalization of same-sex marriages, said the appellate court judges should have waited for a 25-day “reconsideration” period to elapse, in which opponents would have had one more chance to ask the Supreme Court to change its mind.

California briefly allowed gay marriages in five years ago, before the ballot initiative came into force. It now becomes the 13th state, and the largest, to allow gay marriage – just in time, advocates point out, for Gay Pride weekend.

“On my way to S.F. City Hall,” tweeted Harris minutes after the injunction was lifted. “Let the wedding bells ring!”

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