Tuesday, June 17th, 2008 at 10:10 am in Uncategorized.
Staff Writer Paul David Lampe is at the Alameda County Clerk’s office in downtown Oakland, following the activity during the second day same-sex marriage licenses are issued and wedding ceremonies are performed.
Noon. A couple and their witness
Vance Jason and Garry Leveque have been together for eight years and Clay Beale has been Leveque’s friend for 34 years.
Leveque was raised Catholic and attended Brigham Young. In high school Leveque had two mentors, Clay Beale, his art teacher, and Barbara Abbott, his English teacher. Today Leveque is an art teacher and Beale served as a witness for Leveque and Jason’s marriage license and marriage.
Although the couple only planned on receiving their marriage license today, they decided to get married when they heard that the line wasn’t too long.
The couple said that today was a formality, because they had a committment ceremony five years ago.
The couple was registered as domestic partners, but decided to receive their marriage license today to receive full benefits recognized by the state of California.
“Since there are no residency requirements, other states might be required to recognize our relationship,” Jason said.
The couple said that they were very proud of the decision the California Supreme Court made in May.
“It is so hard to tell what is going to happen in the current climate in this country,” Jason said. “It was kind of a combination of shock and excitement.
11:05 a.m. 20 years of pride and commitment.
Johnathan Abernethy-Deppe and David Abernethy-Deppe have been together for 20 years, have been registered as domestic partners since 2000, have shared a last name for almost 4 years, and on June 17 applied for their marriage license.
Jonathan said four years ago when the couple changed their last names the judge announced to the court that she was looking forward to the day when marriage ceremonies would become legal for same-sex couples.
“Separate is not equal,” David said. “Which we learned many years ago in the civil rights movement.”
The couple plans to get married on June 29, the same day as San Francisco Pride.
“Pride day for gay and lesbian people is like our family celebration,” David said.
The couple plans to have a “low key” wedding celebration.
“We’re hoping it will be low key and it doesn’t get out of hand,” David jest.
10:30 a.m. Friends and family gather in celebration
Monica Giudici didn’t expect to see director of her daughter’s school picking up a marriage license this morning. Giudici came into the Alameda County clerk’s office to pick up a birth certificate for her daughter. As she was waiting to hear her name called she saw Ilana Kaufman with friends, her daughter, and her soon-to-be wife Gretchen Kaufman.
“I feel really lucky that I was able to witness that by chance,” Giudici said.
Ilana Kaufman said she was proud to be a resident of Alameda county and Oakland where marriage licenses were handed out starting at 5:01 Monday June 16.
“It’s like a formal public validation of our relationship,” Ilana Kaufman said. She even considered coming to the county clerks office last night to clap and cheer for couples who had recieved their marriage license.
The Kaufmans were joined by Elisabeth Jay and her fiancee Kathryn.
The couple was picking up a marriage license, but doesn’t plan to get married until July.
Another couple who came to help the Kaufman’s celebrate today has been married for the past four years. Richard Knight and Josh Gamson were married in Massachusetts in 2004.
“All of a sudden we went from single to married in thiss state,” Gamson said. “We have been married for four years, but the state has finally caught up with our relationship. It’s all about the state coming into line with what our family actually is.”
The couple is celebrating the courts decision by legally changing their last names.
“It’s a funny experience to have a bureaucratic moment be an emotional moment,” Gamson said.
Before the friends and family went in to see the Kaufman’s wedding they jest, but quite earnestly, that it would also be nice to have congress and the federal government recognize their marriage.
9:55 a.m. No protestors in sight. Families celebrating with friends
Already 17 couples have applied for marriage licenses. City clerk employee’s desks are decorated with white balloons. Couples that have shared a lifetime now have the opportunity for civil rights.
For Beatrice Perez-Stable and Alectro Caldwell this morning is an opportunity to not only make a political statement but also solidify their commitment to eachother after 31 years.
“We’ll after 31 years of waking up together we deserve to come and claim our civil rights,” Perez-Stable said.
The couple meet originally in Laguna Beach. Caldwell grew up in Alabama but has been in California for approxomately 50 years.