Same-sex couples were legally married in California on Monday, as the state’s Supreme Court ruling overturning California’s ban on gay marriage took effect. Longtime partners and original plaintiffs in the 2004 lawsuit challenging the ban, Diane Olson and Robin Tyler, were among the first couples to obtain a marriage license, reports the Los Angeles Times. Executive vice president Kathy Spillar and board chair Peg Yorkin of the Feminist Majority Foundation attended the couple’s wedding on the steps of the Beverly Hills County Courthouse.
“This is an extraordinary moment in history and extraordinary moment in time,” said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who presided over the marriage of longtime activists Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin in his office in San Francisco’s City Hall, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. “They are extraordinary people who have lived extraordinary lives and spent half a century fighting for justice and equality.”
The California Supreme Court overturned the state’s ban on gay marriage last month, ruling that such laws violate the California constitution, which they said “guarantees same-sex couples the same substantive constitutional rights as opposite-sex couples to choose one’s life partner and enter with that person into a committed, officially recognized, and protected family relationship.” The Court also denied a request to stay the ruling until the results of the November 2008 elections, when Californians will vote on a ballot initiative to amend the state’s constitution to ban same-sex marriage.