At long last, same sex marriages are legal again in California after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Proposition 8, which banned them, was declared unconstitutional on Wednesday, June 26. However, same sex marriage bans in other states remain in place, a situation that is expected to bring thousands of gay and lesbian couples to our state for weddings and possible relocations.
Dan Ianneo, 58, and Ernest Brune, 70, of La Quinta were the first to be married at the Riverside County Clerk’s Office in Indio on Monday. The couple, who has been living together for more than 40 years, arrived at the clerk’s office at 5:30 a.m. to be the first in line.
“I didn’t want to be the first in line because I didn’t want to be in front of the cameras. Ernie is the one who wanted to be the first one there,” Ianneo said during a telephone interview.
“I woke up this morning and still can’t believe it happened. It’s unbelievable that we’re finally legally married, and a huge relief knowing we can’t be thrown out of our home if our partner dies. Now, we can do all the normal legal things that every other couple does, like estate planning, taxes and insurance,” Ianneo said.
The newly married gay couple decided to keep both their sir names and say they will take a honeymoon to Italy in September. They are planning another wedding ceremony complete with a full bridal party in November at their La Quinta home for family and friends who couldn’t be at the first ceremony, he added.
Ianneo and Brune joined hundreds of other same-sex couples getting married legally at the Indio Courthouse since the Riverside County Clerk’s Office began re-issuing marriage licenses on July 1, after the state lifted California’s Proposition 8 and DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) which banned same sex marriages two days after the Supreme Court ruling.
It’s about time the courts finally granted equal rights to our brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, mothers and fathers. It should have been done a long time ago. “Now we can love each other and be recognized as a married couple,” said Ianneo.
The Indio County Clerk’s office is currently the only place in the Coachella Valley issuing marriage licenses, and clerks have been working from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. conducting civil marriage ceremonies since Monday. As of noon Tuesday, they have performed 89 same sex marriages and don’t expect the numbers to stop anytime soon, said Michelle Martinez-Barrera, manager of the recorder’s office and deputized to perform wedding ceremonies.
For Kate Gordon, watching her brother, Dan, say ‘I do’ meant a lot to the family.
“I never thought this would happen. I’ve heard about them getting married for a long time and always said, ‘I’ll believe it when I see it,’” Gordon said in a telephone interview. “They’ve been together since I was nine or 10 years old. I’ve grown up with them together and my daughter treats Ernie as her uncle. Now, they’re legally part of our family and it’s exciting,” she said.
Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet performed marriage ceremonies too.
“Thank you Gov. Brown and Kamala Harris for giving me the green light to officiate the marriage of Jim Eastin and his partner of 43 years, Allan Murdouck. It is an honor that they are my first couple. Congrats to them and everyone celebrating and making plans!” said Pougnet on his Facebook page.
In wake of court ruling, a record 55 percent of Americans now support same-sex marriage, according to a USA Today poll released on Tuesday.
Now these couples can enjoy the rest of their lives together, married. Hopefully, we have to get Michigan and other states that still have a ban against same sex marriages to legalize these unions.
The opinions of Jackie Gladfelter Devereaux are not those of the ownership, management or staff of the Desert Star Weekly, but hers alone. Devereaux can be reached at email@example.com or by calling 760-671-6604.