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L.A.'s first same-sex wedding complete

June 16, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Two local women married each other Monday in Beverly Hills, officially kicking off the new era of same-sex marriages in California.California's ban on gay marriage was officially lifted Monday at 5:01 p.m.

Diane Olson and Robin Tyler have been fighting to get married for a very long time, and Monday afternoon, they finally did.

Every Valentine's Day for the last eight years, they've gone to the Beverly Hills courthouse to get a marriage license, and every year they have been turned down. On Monday, after 5:01 p.m., Olson and Tyler will become L.A. County's first same-sex couple to be married.

"We're going to come out with a license, and we're going to walk down the aisle, and we're going to, we're going to get married," said Tyler.

It's just the beginning of the rush to the altar. Officials estimate that more than 100,000 same-sex couples will get married in California this summer. More than half of them are expected to be from out of state.

"Out at Zuma Beach there's some weddings that are going to be on the beach, one right after the other. And a lot, just a lot going on. A lot of festivities and a lot of celebration," said Mark Talgo.

"I know a lot of people, yeah. And it's a great thing. It's a great thing. It's long overdue," said Joanne Coraci.

Only a handful of couples were married Monday in California. The real rush is expected Tuesday when county clerks across the state will begin issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

A special exception was made for Olson and Tyler because they were among the original plaintiffs who filed a lawsuit claiming the state's ban on gay marriages was unconstitutional. The California Supreme Court agreed and last month overturned the ban.

"I think it's a great thing and it's a thing that I think should apply to all states not just California and Massachusetts," said Patrick Mahaney.

One battle still looms for gay couples and supporters of same-sex marriage come November.

Olson and Tyler say after celebrating their marriage they will turn their attention to fighting an initiative on the November ballot that would legally define marriage as only between a man and a woman. If approved it could overturn the thousands of same-sex marriages expected to be performed in California this summer.

Olson and Tyler say the public sentiment has changed.

"People are reasonable and when they see the love that's involved with this, that, you know, we're not dangerous people, we just want to be married to each other," said Olson

"I love her and I know that we're going to live happily ever after," said Tyler.

In addition to Olson and Tyler, one couple in San Francisco married Monday evening as the California Supreme Court ruling kicked in. Phyllis Lyon, 84, and Del Martin, 87, have been together for 55 years. They say they are very grateful to finally see the day their union is legally recognized with a marriage license.

Same-sex marriages could mean big money for the state. One study estimates that it will bring in more than $683 million.

 

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