Monday, July 1, 2013

Gay couples marry in West Hollywood

Taken from:

Dozens of gay couples married in West Hollywood on Monday to celebrate the restoration of same-sex marriage in California, as city officials were deputized to conduct free civil ceremonies to mark the long-awaited, historic occasion.

The officials held the ceremonies in three small, plainly decorated, tents, as couples cycled in and out among cheers, tears and a few protesters.
In the wake of a Supreme Court decision last week that struck down Proposition 8 and legalized gay marriage in California, same-sex newlyweds walked down makeshift aisles, most having obtained their marriage licenses that very same morning. And even though the ceremonies, which were held on a first-come first-serve basis, were quickly planned and conducted, the sentiments they highlighted were formed and shaped over many years.
David Barney, 70, and Paul Mejia, 78, both military veterans, had waited decades for the moment, after having met over a game of pool at a bar in the early 1970s.
"Now, we're fully citizens of the United States," said Mejia. "I've served in the Army. I've served on jury duties. I've done all the duties that were required of me. I'm due this license."
Overall, the scene was relatively quiet, as couples gathered with small groups of friends and families to perform the services. Not many rallying supporters nor protesters attended in the early afternoon, as partners wearing everything from tuxedos, dresses, and traditional Jewish Kippas to Hawaiian shirts and jeans took oaths and signed their names.
Newlyweds Andrea and Sallee Taylor of South Pasadena had been together for two years, and their daughter served as their witness.
"It just feels so natural to me," said Andrea Taylor. "It's such a natural progression of a relationship and that commitment you have for each other."
While many couples rushed to get married on the first full working day it was legal, others will have more time to plan out their ceremonies and receptions - unlike when it was briefly legal in California before the passage of Proposition 8 in 2008.
"During the 'Summer of Love,' there was a great urgency because we knew Proposition 8 was on the ballot," said John Duran, a West Hollywood Councilman who was also sworn in to his second term on Monday.
In 2008, Duran was also deputized as part of an effort to marry gay couples then, before the vote on Prop 8. He married over 100 couples during that time.
"Now completely having final say on Proposition 8, I think a lot of couples are going to have the ability to plan a wedding rather than do a rushed shotgun wedding at West Hollywood City Hall," Duran added.


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