Several same-sex couples to get wedding licenses on Tuesday |

Several same-sex couples to get wedding licenses on Tuesday

At least 10 same-sex couples are expected to march into history Tuesday when they get their wedding licenses at the Rood Center in Nevada City.

Nevada County Clerk-Recorder Gregory Diaz said the couples have pre-registered to get licenses and to eventually have a ceremony performed at the county government headquarters.

“We are going to be supportive of all the couples who want to tie the knot. That’s how we’re going to proceed Tuesday,” said Diaz, who also serves as the county’s marriage commissioner.

A state Supreme Court decision on May 15 opened the door to same-sex weddings, although not every county will follow the court’s order. Officials in Kern and Butte counties have decided they will not offer civil wedding services to any couple regardless of sexual orientation.

That won’t be the case in Nevada County, where Diaz himself plans to process wedding license applications on Tuesday.

“As far as I’m concerned, we hope each and every couple has a good experience,” he said.

Jim Richards and Charlie Landau have not pre-registered to have a wedding ceremony performed at the Rood Center but will be among those getting a wedding license on Tuesday. They intend to get married later in a private ceremony in Nevada City, which they have called home for the past four years.

“It’s a big thing, even though it’s only a word,” said Richards, who along with his partner belongs to the local chapter of the Marriage Equality Coalition.

Richards, 61, and Landau, 58, have been a couple for 21 years. Their wedding ceremony will be attended by family members from as far away as Virginia and business partners from London.

“We’re getting married for the same reason everyone gets married. We’re going to make a commitment in front of friends and family,” said Richards, adding that the local businesses they’ve dealt with while making wedding arrangements have been quite supportive.

“We’ve never had any problems living in Nevada City,” he said. “The people here are pretty friendly.”

The Rev. Megan Cefalu of the Unitarian Universalist Community of the Mountains Church in Grass Valley and members of her congregation plan to be at the Rood Center on Tuesday to lend support to same-sex couples who want to get married that day.

“Tuesday is not a political day,” she said. “It’s going to be a day of celebration, and for the first time they are not being treated differently in this regard.”

Cefalu has been at the clerk-recorder’s office on Valentine’s Day in the past when gay couples had their wedding license applications rejected. She said on Tuesday she will be available to officiate ceremonies while congregation members will volunteer to be witnesses.

Though same-sex married couples will soon enjoy the same rights as heterosexual couples in the state of California, the honeymoon period will be brief, according to Chrisine Allen, a former Nevada County resident who now lives in Sacramento with her longtime partner, Ann Brown.

The reason for that is a November ballot issue aimed at dismantling the Supreme Court’s decision that is allowing Tuesday’s same-sex marriages in the state.

“June 17 will almost be like a holiday for most of us,” Allen said. “But in no way is this even a pause, much less an end to the fight. If that ballot measure passes, it would make it constitutional to discriminate.”

To contact Staff Writer Pat Butler, e-mail or call 477-4239.

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