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Same-sex matrimony in Martinez

This is Dino-Ray Ramos, fashion writer from Dressed, and I’m reporting from a Starbucks in Martinez! Here’s the scoop on what went down with same-sex marriages this morning in Martinez….

6:55 a.m.: Drove into the city of Martinez. I’ve never been here before and it reminded me of that city in “Footloose.”

7:21 a.m.: After getting a tad bit lost, I find parking and walk over to the Clerk Recorder’s Office in quaint downtown Martinez. There are approximately 50 supporters out in front with rainbow paraphernalia and holding signs of support. They vary with words like “I’m straight, but not narrow” and one tongue-in-cheek one that says “Fred Phelps Marry Me.”

In opposition to them are three protesters, one middle-aged woman and two female teens, sealed off in a barricaded area with signs that say “Dykes Wed,” “Fags Can’t Marry” and “God Hates Fag Enablers.” One of the teen girls stands on a rainbow flag

I meet with my colleague, Matthias and he informs me that both parties got there at about 7 a.m.

7:22 a.m. : I notice two residents in the housing complex across the street sitting on their stoop staring at the action as the supporters sing “Give Peace a Chance.”

7:24 a.m.: A guy jokingly holds up a sign that says, “Ignorance, is that a sin?” with an arrow pointing towards the protesters. It might have said “ignorant,” I’m not too sure. The protesters ignore.

7:26 a.m.: The head protester, with an American flag wrapped around her waist as some sort of sarang, sings a song called “Going to the Chapel of Crap.”

7:28 a.m.: The protester’s voice seems exhausted. She needs a lozenge.

7:32 a.m.: A person drives by and honks his horn, giving a gesture of support. The supporters applause with recognition.

7:33 a.m.: The head protester starts to sing “Chapel of Crap” again. A guy drives by and says some harsh words directed at her. He gives her the finger – the middle one.

7:35 a.m.: Paranoia of a drive-by sets in.

7:39 a.m.: An Aramark truck honks it’s horn with glee as it drives by.

7:51 a.m.: I realize the line for marriage licenses isn’t that long. There a lot more supporters.

7:55 a.m.: There seems to be a bit of down time. People are just standing around and doing their thing. That said, I decide to count the cops standing across the street. There are 8 of them – and that’s just across the street. They are there to serve and protect.

7:56 a.m.: Protesters sing an encore of “Chapel of Crap.” Supporters retaliate with a rendition of “Chapel of Love.”

7:58 a.m.: Protesters leave. The supporters applaud. The line for licenses grows by three couples.

8 a.m.: The doors of the building open. The couples file in.

8:04 a.m.: I meet Diane Miller and Barbara & Bill Hamilton-Holway. All three are Unitarian ministers. They are excited for the day’s events. Miller is from Walnut Creek while the Hamilton-Holways have a church in Martinez. The latter have been doing ceremonies for a while now and they say this occasion is a great joy and it’s been a long time coming.

Barbara Hamilton-Holway says that it will be great to say, “By the power invested in me by the state of California” when performing her same-sex marriage ceremonies.

8:18 a.m.: Stephen Weir, donning a traditional kilt, walks out of the building with his partner John Hemm, who is donned in a white tux jacket with black slacks. The couple du jour just got their license and did their oaths.

The small crowd adjourns to the park across the street.

8:23 a.m.: As I walk across the street to the park where the Weir ceremony will take place, my colleague Matthias tells me what went down behind the scenes. He tells me that the second couple to get a license is Stan Deller and David Weir (no relation to Stephen.) The sound of bagpipes subside my fear of a drive by.

8:25 a.m.: The bagpipes stop. A crowd of people await the big ceremony in the park.

8:30 a.m.: The bagpipes start up again and the ceremony starts. The Weir procession begins and the crowd erupts with applause. As Weir walks across the park bridge to the little ceremonial gazebo, he greets guests, both invited and not. Hemm is not too far behind him. The wedding party is draped in pretty leis of purple.

8:37 a.m.: Stephen and John are pronounced “spouses for life.”

Posted on Tuesday, June 17th, 2008
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