East Bay same-sex couples wed

June 17, 2008 5:38:17 PM PDT
Lesbian and gay couples are rushing to get married on Tuesday, the first full day that same-sex marriages are legal in California, because of a state Supreme Court decision.

Today was the first full day of legal same-sex weddings throughout California.

In Contra Costa county, the first couple to be married this morning was County Clerk Stephen Weir and his partner of 18 years, John Hemm.

Every marriage license issued in Contra Costa County for the past 19 years has had Weir's signature on it, and it's right there on his as well. Weir waited all this time for the chance to apply for a marriage license in his own office.

"When I conduct wedding ceremonies in the future, I'm not just going to be politely sympathetic I'm going to really empathize. This is awesome," Weir said.

Hemm forgot his wallet and someone had to go get it. He blamed it on wedding day jitters.

"Total excitement, that's how it feels, excitement pure and simple," said Hemm.

A small number of protesters saying that same-sex weddings is one of the reasons why God hates America.

They stood within a few feet of each other, but philosophically, on opposite ends of the universe. On one side, three members from Kansas, from the church of pastor Fred Phelps.

One was his daughter, and the other two were granddaughters condemning same sex marriage and its supporters, quoting the bible.

"This is how you love your brother, tell them , warn them they are going to hell if they don't repent, This is how we're doing it," said Kansas resident Grace Phelps Roper.

There were far more demonstrators in support of same sex marriage, one was protesting those protestors.

"These guys are disgusting, they're just here to make us angry, so I decided to make them angry," said Martinez resident Andrew O'Callaghan.

"They'll bankrupt this nation and we are heading to spending eternity in the flames of hell," said Kansas resident Margie Phelps.

"I've been presiding over same-sex union ceremonies for years and I'm glad to do it legally and joyfully," said Barbara Hamilton-Holway from the Unitarian Church of Berkeley.


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