Two of the plaintiffs in a challenge to Proposition 8 became the first same-sex couple to marry in Los Angeles Friday afternoon, some 3 1/2 hours after an appeals court issued an order clearing the way for such unions to resume in California.
On the last business day of his administration, outgoing Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa officiated the historic ceremony held at the mayor’s press office at City Hall.
“I’ve done a few of these over the last couple years, but never have I been prouder,” Villaraigosa said at the beginning of the ceremony. “Never have I been more joyful than I am today. This is a special moment.”
Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo have been together for 12 years.
“Your relationship is an inspiration to us all,” Villaraigosa said.
“Your bravery in the face of bigotry has made history. And thanks to you, ceremonies like this will be celebrated with joy in California and across the country.”
A few hours earlier, just before 5 p.m. Friday, Kristin Perry and Sandra Stier — the other two lead plaintiffs in the Supreme Court challenge to Prop 8 — were married at San Francisco City Hall by California Attorney General Kamala Harris.
“Gay and lesbian couples have waited so long for this day and for their fundamental right to marry,” Harris said in a statement issued just before 4 p.m. “Finally, their loving relationships are as legitimate and legal as any other.”
The public ceremonies mark the resumption of same-sex unions in the country's most populous state after a 4 1/2-year break. California is now the 13th state, along with the District of Columbia, to allow same-sex marriages.
Friday’s unexpected order makes marriage available to some 98,000 same-sex couples living in California.