Same-Sex Couples Flock To California Courts To Wed

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Jubilant gay and
lesbian couples flocked to city halls and county courthouses across
California to wed with pets, siblings and kids in tow as same-sex
marriages resumed across the state following a five-year legal hiatus.

was the first chance for all but a handful of the state's same-sex
couples to wed since 2008, when about 18,000 marriages went forward
during a brief legal window before a voter-approved ban.

week, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to rule on the constitutional
merits of that ban – called Proposition 8 – and a lower court on Friday
said same-sex marriages could resume. On Sunday, Justice Anthony Kennedy
rejected a last-ditch appeal.

While a few
lucky couples were able to score marriage licenses before government
offices closed and wed late Friday and scores of others tied the knot at
San Francisco City Hall over the weekend, Monday was the day many
couples had been awaiting for years.

The Los
Angeles County clerk-recorder's office logged more than 600 online
marriage license applications over the weekend – more than five times
the normal amount – and posted extended hours Monday and Tuesday to deal
with the crush.

In West Hollywood, where
about 40 percent of the population is gay, lesbian, bisexual or
transgender, the City Council was deputized to perform nuptials. Free
shuttles ran from court to near City Hall.

Twenty couples were married within the first 45 minutes Monday and a line grew throughout the morning.

In the smaller, rural counties, the scene was more subdued but joyous.

Shasta County, one couple wed before 9 a.m., said County Clerk Cathy
Darling Allen, but the county will perform same-sex weddings on an
as-needed basis to supplement its regular twice weekly ceremonies for

In Tulare County, fewer than a dozen
couples showed up to get marriage licenses, said Julie Poochigian, the
county's Chief Deputy Clerk-Recorder.

ceremonies were taking place throughout the state, gay marriage
opponents say they still believe that marriage is between a man and a

“From a church perspective, we're going
to stick to our guns,” said the Rev. Chris Clark, pastor of the East
Clairemont Baptist Church in San Diego. “God's design for marriage
hasn't changed. It's one man, one woman.”

Sacramento, opponents were less visible Monday than during the lengthy
legal saga. Fewer than a dozen protesters gathered outside the
clerk-recorder's office holding large signs that read “GOD has ruled on
marriage” and “Marriage(equals)1 Man+1 Woman.” One man shouted at
couples through a bullhorn. The protesters left by midmorning.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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