Gay couples across California trade weekend vows

Expect plenty of disagreement. Just keep it civil.
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Jeff T.
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Gay couples across California trade weekend vows

Postby Jeff T. » Sat Jun 21, 2008 11:32 pm

This is really good for the California ecconomy. I've been doing video camera work as well as editing. I may as well get in on the wedding videography action while its hot.

There is money to be made, and I don't care who is writing the check as long as it clears!

Gay couples across California trade weekend vows
By CHRISTINA HOAG,Associated Press
Posted: 2008-06-21 20:59:12

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (AP) - Same-sex couples across California exchanged vows and wedding bands on the first weekend since the state began allowing gays and lesbians to legally marry.

The city of West Hollywood, a staunch advocate of marriage rights for gays and lesbians, hosted a daylong marriage marathon Saturday, when about 100 same-sex couples planned to wed in ceremonies officiated by council members and administrators.

Accompanied by camera-toting clusters of relatives and friends, couples traded vows under white trellises trimmed with red roses inside curtained cabanas in West Hollywood Park.

Among them were Nancy Vasquez and Sandy Perron, partners of 16 years, who got their marriage license at West Hollywood City Hall on Tuesday and returned Saturday for the ceremony.

"This is just the icing on the cake," said Perron, a 45 year-old human resources assistant from Gardena. "It's something we've been waiting for."

California became the only U.S. state besides Massachusetts to allow gay couples to marry on Monday, one month after the state Supreme Court overturned a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage.

But the wedding spree could be short-lived if voters approve a November ballot initiative that would reverse the May 15 court ruling and amend the state Constitution to bar gay marriage.

For Susan and River Mika Coyote of Incline Village, Nev., getting married at the Sacramento gay pride festival was a statement about human rights, as well as their personal commitment. The couple held a ceremony five years ago, legally combined their names and bank accounts, and bought a home together.

River, 38, said she hopes hundreds of gay marriages in coming months will help dissuade voters from supporting a constitutional ban on the November ballot.

"It's easy when people think of gay people as 'those people,'" she said. "If you check that box you're taking away the marriage of River and Susie - it's not 'those people.' We're normal people who want to take care of each other."

The gay wedding boom has been good for business. Tom Rosa, owner of the Cake And Art bakery in West Hollywood, said business has tripled in the past week, and on one day he did as many consultations as he usually does in a month.

Rainbow-colored cakes are popular, but some couples are wild for a silver-studded all black cake, said Rosa, who baked four cakes for same-sex couples marrying at West Hollywood Park.

Many couples waited until Saturday to get married so they could share the day with family and friends and not be part of the media hoopla and protests that surrounded ceremonies earlier in the week.

"We didn't want that to take away from our occasion. It means a lot to us," said Pat Melchor of Downey, who married her partner of 11 years, the new Mrs. Cheryl Melchor, who was clutching a bouquet of white roses as they posed for photos.

West Hollywood Councilman John Heilman, who was deputized by the county deputy commissioner of civil marriages to officiate weddings in June, said the day was proving emotional, especially for couples who had been together for many years.

"Everyone's crying," he said. "People are bringing their family and friends. That's what been nicer about today."

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. 06/21/2008 20:39 ET