Woot! Woot! At 5:01 pm PT yesterday evening, California began issuing the first marriage licenses for same-sex couples making Cali the second state after Massachusetts to offer marriage equality to citizens of the United States of America. Del Martin, 87, and Phyllis Lyon, 84 were the first couple to be married in San Francisco, CA (married by the Mayor of San Francisco himself) and Robin Tyler and Diane Olson were the first couple married here in LA … here are a few pics of Robin and Diane proudly showing off their marriage license (and their lurve for one another) in Beverly Hills, CA yesterday afternoon:
California officials began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples Monday evening after a state Supreme Court ruling legalizing the ceremonies took effect. The May 15 ruling took effect at 5:01 p.m. (8:01 p.m. ET) Monday. Gay and lesbian couples had lined up for hours outside county clerk’s offices in anticipation of the decision coming into force. Lesbian rights activists Del Martin, 87, and Phyllis Lyon, 84, were the first same-sex couple to receive a marriage license in San Francisco on Monday, with Mayor Gavin Newsom presiding over their wedding ceremony. “This is an extraordinary moment in history,” Newsom told a cheering, standing-room-only crowd at City Hall. “I think today, marriage as an institution has been strengthened.” The high-profile mayor heated up the debate on same-sex marriages in February 2004, when he ordered city officials to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. Martin and Lyon were the first to exchange wedding vows after the order, only to see the ceremony voided later. “I think it’s a wonderful day and I have to thank our mayor for most of it,” Lyon said. “I’m very happy and very grateful for all of you.” Clerks expect a much larger number of couples to show up Tuesday morning to complete marriage-license applications that replace “Bride” and “Groom” with “Partner A” and “Partner B.” The decision makes California the nation’s second state, after Massachusetts, to legalize same-sex marriage. Four other states allow civil unions … In the May 15 ruling, the California Supreme Court struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional. The ruling surprised legal experts because the court has a conservative reputation. Six of its seven judges are Republican appointees.
And here in LA:
The era of gay marriage in California will begin today with the Beverly Hills wedding of two lesbians whose court struggle led to the lifting of the state’s ban on same-sex unions. Robin Tyler and Diane Olson, who had been repeatedly rejected at the Beverly Hills Courthouse in their requests for a marriage license, will return to the building this afternoon and become the first couple in Los Angeles County to receive a same-sex license and get married. “We’re going back to ground zero in the same-sex marriage lawsuit,” Tyler said … In a 4-3 decision, the state’s high court ruled last month that the proposition was unconstitutional because it discriminated against gays and did not provide them with equal protection under the law. Most gay couples will not be able to obtain marriage licenses until Tuesday morning, but “in recognition of their unique role in the court’s decision,” Olson and Tyler will receive their license today and be permitted to wed, according to Dean Logan, acting Los Angeles County registrar-recorder/county clerk … The onslaught of same-sex couples seeking marriage licenses is expected to begin Tuesday. In West Hollywood, a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at 9 a.m. at the West Hollywood Park auditorium, 647 N. San Vicente Blvd., to mark the beginning of the licenses being issued. Gay couples can then apply for licenses and get married in civil ceremonies … Unlike Massachusetts, the only other state to sanction same-sex marriages, California will allow nonresidents to wed. However, the federal government still does not sanction same-sex marriages, and the General Accounting Office has identified 1,138 federal benefits and civil marriage rights that will not be extended to gay couples.
And so it begins … our nation moves one step closer to offering marriage equality to all US citizens. While this development is a major accomplishment for civil rights in our country we are still a long way away from “truth and justice for all”. There are still 48 states that do not sanction same-sex marriage in our country and there are venomous opponents who will fight tooth and nail to stand in the way of this new freedom. Much congrats to all happy couples who are finally allowed to marry in California. I hope and pray this is just the beginning for same-sex marriage in this country. Maybe one day (hopefully soon) all citizens of the United States of America will be allowed the same rights and freedoms … we still have a ways to go … but we’re well on our way to reaching that point.