Skip to comments.Couples say 'I do,' judge says 'I don't'
Posted on 02/14/2004 8:12:41 AM PST by MegaSilver
SAN FRANCISCO -- The couples began lining up outside City Hall at 4 a.m., four hours before the marriage license bureau opened. By 8 a.m., more than 50 couples were waiting for the new gender-neutral licenses that would allow same-sex couples to marry. By 9 a.m., there were 100 couples; by 11 a.m., 200 couples. Some had flown in from New York or had driven all night from such places as Los Angeles, Portland, Ore., and Palm Springs, Calif.
Licenses in hand, gay couples were exchanging vows all over City Hall -- on the grand steps of the rotunda, upstairs, in corners, out front -- as the line for licenses grew longer by the hour, cheers and applause broke out every few minutes, and opponents of gay marriage tried -- and failed -- to stop the city from handing out the licenses at a hearing Friday afternoon in state Superior Court.
As the unofficial gay capital of the country, San Francisco entered the raging national debate on gay marriage Thursday, when it defied state law and issued the first marriage licenses to same-sex couples. But the clerk's office, which had changed marriage license documents to make them gender-neutral by replacing the words "bride" and "groom" with "first applicant" and "second applicant" had not publicized its new policy Thursday to make sure the day would run smoothly, officials said.
Friday was a different story.
With the news out, by 11 a.m., 90 same-sex couples had been married, three more couples than all day Thursday.
At the same time, one of two conservative groups that filed suit to stop the marriages asked a judge to issue an emergency order. The Alliance Defense Fund, a religious rights group, asked Superior Court Judge James Warren to grant an emergency order stopping the marriages on the grounds that the people of California "want the rule of law." The judge refused and scheduled hearings for the Alliance Defense Fund and the Campaign for California Families, a Sacramento group, on Tuesday.
The marriages continued. By the time weary authorities closed up shop Friday, 665 same-sex couples had taken their vows over two days. To meet the extraordinary demand, the clerk announced that City Hall would be open today, Valentine's Day, as well as Sunday and Monday, and asked for 200 volunteers to help with the crowds.
Even with the threat of their marriages becoming void days after the event, the couples lining up at the clerk's office Friday said they were proud of being part of a historic moment and eager to have their relationships sanctioned by government officials. Many were already registered domestic partners, had been married in Canada or had taken part in religious "commitment ceremonies" performed by their ministers or rabbis.
"No matter what happens Tuesday, today, I'm marrying the woman I love," said Leslie Bulbuk, 41. She and her partner, Marta Donayre, 34, had flown back to Sunnyvale, in Silicon Valley late Thursday night, from Miami, where they were guests on Spanish-language television's "The Cristina Show" to discuss same-sex marriage.
Donayre, an immigrant from Brazil who was granted asylum on the grounds of persecution because she is a lesbian, said that the couple had another hurdle after getting married Friday. "The immigration department doesn't recognize same-sex couples," said Donayre, who founded an organization with Bulbuk, Love Sees No Borders, to fight for the rights of immigrant same-sex couples. "So Tuesday, we're going to the immigration office to fight for our rights."
San Francisco entered the gay marriage debate the same day the Massachusetts legislature suspended a marathon debate on a proposed gay marriage ban prompted by a ruling in the state's highest court that sanctioned the nation's first gay marriages, scheduled to begin taking place in May. The state constitutional convention will resume March 11 when lawmakers renew the debate on an issue that has thrust Massachusetts into the national spotlight and galvanized opposition from conservative groups this presidential election year.
By contrast, San Francisco began issuing licenses to same-sex couples with relatively little fanfare. On Monday, the city's new mayor, Gavin Newsom, announced that a ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, and said he wanted the city to explore ways to allow same-sex couples to marry. By early Thursday morning, employees in the county clerk's office, in consultation with the city attorney and civil rights lawyers, had changed the marriage documents. By 11 a.m., the city's first same-sex marriage took place in City Hall between Del Martin, 83, and Phyllis Lyon, 79, who have been together for 51 years.
On Friday, City Hall was ostensibly business as usual. The mayor, who had performed two marriages, both for senior staff members, remained in his office while lines wound around the building and the rotunda became a daylong scene of jubilation. Groups of schoolchildren stopped to watch the marriages; the city Recreation and Park Department sent flowers and plants to decorate the rotunda staircase; and at least a dozen city employees were deputized as marriage commissioners to fill the demand.
And the city dog catcher declaired that it was unconstitutionaly inhumane to eat meat and banned meat from SF.
More than anything, I'm a supporter of the rule of law and I'm wondering what in California state law or the California state constitution allows a mayor to simply declare state laws unconstitutional? Not a judge, not a legislature, not even the state governor, but a local mayor?
Where's Dan White now when we REALLY NEED him!
That's what's needed - a test case involving, say, a wealthy gay being taken to the cleaners by his/her playtoy in a nasty divorce settlement.
That just might put the quietus on the marriage rage among queers.
Any bets on how long it will be before we hear about the first applicant /second applicant is human/animal wedding marriage...(sheep, goat, dog, horse and gerbils...etc. /human)...animals can be trained not to resist...how about NAMBLA?...Any more examples of aberrant behavior, Liberals?
LIBERALISM, Alway racing downward to the lowest depth of depravity...sick..sick..sick. :((
You should make that your tagline before I steal it!
Someone wants THE the one I have now. :))
Gee, I don't know why they couldn't have made room for one more couple...
These people truly believe they are married with all of the benefits and perils.
That in mind, what will their employers do? Will they accept it? Will they be sued if they don't?