Same-Sex Marriages Abound in Bay Area

By Lisa Fernandez, Damian Trujillo and Kris Sanchez
|  Monday, Jul 1, 2013  |  Updated 6:06 PM PDT
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Monday, clerks around California were busy marrying gay and lesbian couples. Kris Sanchez reports.

Monday, clerks around California were busy marrying gay and lesbian couples. Kris Sanchez reports.

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Santa Clara County: Same Sex Weddings Begin in Earnest

On Monday, county clerks around California were open and wedding gay and lesbian couples. One of those couples were Melissa Myers and Alana Forrest, a Los Gatos-Monte Sereno police captain, who were married in Santa Clara County. Damian Trujillo reports.

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Same-sex marriages aren't just for San Francisco.

They're for everyone in all of California's 58 counties, thanks to last week's Supreme Court ruling that struck down Prop. 8, allowing same-sex couples to wed.

The first couples to marry on Friday were the Berkeley and Los Angeles-area plaintiffs who brought the suit all the way to the nation's highest court. And, by Sunday afternoon, more than 560 wedding licenses had been issued in San Francisco since the ruling.

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But, by Monday, clerks around the state were open and marrying gay and lesbian couples. One of those couples was Melissa Myers and Alana Forrest, a Los Gatos-Monte Sereno police captain. The two were married in San Jose at the Santa Clara County clerk's office. Myers wore a long white gown, Forrest wore deep red.

"It's huge to be not marginalized anymore and not suffer discrimination because of who I am," Myers said after the ceremony.

"It's historic and epic," Forrest added, mentioning that the couple was also married in another civil ceremony two years ago.

Fittingly, the wedding was officiated by Ken Yeager, who was the first openly gay man elected to the San Jose City Council before he became a Santa Clara County supervisor, and who is now board president. Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Chief Scott Seaman and District Attorney Jeff Rosen were there to witness the joyous occasion.

Forrest and Myers were just one of a slow trickle of same-sex couples in Santa Clara County wanting to wed on Monday.

After their wedding, John Brancato and Adolfo Cuadras Laveaga of San Jose - partners for 11 years - said their "I Dos" in a five-minute ceremony and the county's "express window." They looked dashing in matching red-and-black plaid shirts and they sported matching rings they had bought and worn for ten years, hoping all along they'd be real wedding bands some day. Brancato wore a bow tie, Laveaga wore a skinny neck tie.

Not only did they seal ther love with official vows, but now, the legality of their union allows Brancato to sponsor his husband, a nurse working in Silicon Valley on a Green Card,  to apply for permanent residency.

"It was just so exciting and so surreal, we just couldn't wait any longer," Brancato said.

Couples were also getting married elsewhere throughout the Bay Area.

Here is a breakdown of the goings-on:

  • Alameda County called in extra volunteers to assist with same-sex ceremonies and have opened additional conference rooms. As of Monday, however, clerks hadn't noticed an increase in wedding volume. Cost of a wedding license $80 plus $75 for ceremony.
  • Contra Costa County began marrying same sex couples on Monday. The clerk there planned no additional hours or resources. Cost of a wedding license, $85 plus $60 for ceremony.
  • San Mateo County called in one extra worker to handle influx of potential marriages, which can be scheduled every 30 minutes. As of Monday, there was not a huge rush. Cost of wedding license $78 plus $65 for ceremony.
  • Napa County conducted its first same-sex wedding Monday morning, and the clerks said they have been busy. Cost is $82 for a wedding license plus $50 for a ceremony.
  • Sonoma County began marrying same-sex couples on Monday and before noon had issued 23 licenses and performed 13 ceremonies. Cost for license is $83 plus $56 for ceremony.

 NBC Bay Area's Alix Martichoux contributed to this story.

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