Gay Marriage: Line by Line
The wait to wed continues inside City Hall
February 17, 2004 3:43 PM
As the Valentine's Day holiday weekend comes to an end, hundreds of gay and lesbian couples continue to wait outside San Francisco City Hall for their chance to get married.
The rush to get married has been nonstop since San Francisco’s newly elected mayor, Gavin Newsom, gave city officials the green light to marry same-sex couples on Thursday, Feb. 12. With a judge denying on Tuesday a legal challenge to immediately stop the ceremonies, the steady stream of weddings can continue.
“It was a happy day just to get inside,” said Julianna Ross, 27, as she walked out of City Hall to dozens of cheers with her new wife, Stephanie Parks, 26, an SF State student.
The wait, however, doesn’t end once they get inside the doors. The lines continue as partners are directed through security and application hurdles.
Couples and their friends and family must first go through metal detectors before they are directed to another line. While they wait there, marriage license applications are passed out and need to be completed before reaching the city clerk’s office.
Upon completing the necessary documents, couples are checked and double-checked by dozens of city volunteers along the way to ensure that personal information is correct on the documents out of fear of licenses becoming null and void due to a small error, such as a misspelled name, according to Ross and Parks.
“To get this license is a huge thing. Before the clerk used to just turn people away,” Ross said.
After paying an application fee of $82 at the city clerk’s office, couples must get in another line to wait their turn to have their ceremony performed.
City Hall’s rotunda area is intimately filled with small groups. At any given time, approximately six to 10 couples exchange rings and vows, according to the deputy marriage commissioner, Sean Captain.
Volunteers keep the process moving smoothly to accommodate the influx of people. “I just got married on Saturday, and I wanted to do whatever to help,” said volunteer Andy Tong.
Since Thursday, approximately 1600 same sex couples were married. Due to high numbers of applications, the Assessor and Records Office was opened to help process the demand. According to that office, 250 marriages were counted by 1 p.m. Tuesday.
After the ceremony, newly married couples must go back in line again to obtain their marriage certificate for $13. After this last step is completed, cheering supporters, honking cars and even a mariachi band greet the couples outside City Hall.
Across the street from City Hall, Ross and Parks look back and smile. “It really was a beautiful and elegant ceremony,” Ross said.
» American Family AssociationThe AFA opposes Mayor Newsom's move.
» Pew Forum on Religion and Public LifeA survey by this organization shows that religious beliefs cause many people to oppose same-sex marriage.
» American Civil Liberties UnionThe ACLU has been behind the gay rights movement for many years.
Gay couples speak out
POST A COMMENT
|BACK TO TOP|| |
Copyright © 2008 [X]press | Journalism Department - San Francisco State University