Most of the couples I met had been together a long time. Danielle & Julie: 8 years. Vicky and Twyla: 21 years. Lori & Sandra: 5 years. Stephen & Tripp: 4 years. Tom & Rick: 23 years.
Surprisingly we saw no protestors. We waited. The clouds rolled in. The wind picked up. It started to rain. We pulled out umbrellas and huddled up. Not many people left.
At about 3pm, the liaison came out again with the bullhorn. He pointed to a woman behind us in line and said everyone in front of her would be getting married today. We all jumped for joy and yelled and hugged each other. I didnt see the reaction of those behind her. Im sure they were devastated.
After sitting around and waiting eight hours, everything moved so quickly. Two of our friends who had waited all day with us came along as witnesses. We filled out an application for a marriage license and were ushered to the center of City Hall.
San Francisco City Hall is a big ornate building with domed rotunda in the middle. A large marble staircase was dotted with same-sex couples on different landings and steps, saying their vows to one another.
A volunteer named Sean came up and said he would be performing our ceremony today. He said we could get married anywhere in City Hall. We chose right under the rotunda at the top of the stairs. Tay and I faced each other. I couldnt believe it was actually happening. We were going to marry each other. I never thought this would happen in my lifetime. I reached for her hands and they were as sweaty as mine. I dont think I remembered to breathe.
We repeated after him. We promised to love and comfort each other, honor and keep each other in sickness and in health, for richer and for poorer, for better or for worse and to be faithful to each other as long as we both shall live.
Tay and I exchanged rings ten years ago. We took them off the night before and did not wear them all day Sunday. As I put the ring on Tays finger, I said With this ring, I thee wed. I almost started to cry. When it was my turn, I gave Tay my wrong hand, I was so nervous. I had to take it off afterward and put it on the left hand.
Then Sean said, By the virtue of the authority vested in me by the State of California, I now pronounce you spouses for life. We kissed and laughed. We couldnt believe it. We were married!! Legally married. Not domestic partners, not civil unionized. Married, with a capital M!
As we came out of City Hall, a crowd was waiting. They cheered and took our photos as we held our marriage certificate high. Friends and strangers came up and congratulated us. We did it!
They say every woman dreams of her wedding day. As a child, I never did. But if I had, I dont think I could have imagined a day with more meaning. It meant so much to be able to share that moment with so many other couples. My wedding day, was not just about me and my beloved. It was about making a statement for the rights of people everywhere to be able to love whom they please.