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2008-06-17

Dozens of Gay and Lesbian Couples Marry in California

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In California, dozens of gay and lesbian couples were married Monday night as the state performed its first legally recognized same-sex weddings. California is the second state, after Massachusetts, to marry same-sex couples, but it is the first ready to grant licenses to couples from any state. [includes rush transcript]

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN:

Dozens of gay couples across California tied the knot Monday, inaugurating the state’s court-approved legalization of same-sex marriage. In Oakland, there was loud applause when the first ceremonies were performed by Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums.

    MAYOR RON DELLUMS: Nancy, do you take Brendalyn to be your lawful wedded spouse? Do you promise to love and comfort her, to honor her and keep her in sickness and in health, in prosperity and adversity, to be faithful to her?

    NANCY: I do.

    MAYOR RON DELLUMS: Now that you have joined yourselves in solemn matrimony, may you strive all your lives to meet this commitment with the same love and devotion that you now possess. That said, by virtue of the authority vested in me as the Mayor of Oakland and Deputy Marriage Commissioner for the County of Alameda, I now proudly pronounce you married under the laws of the State of California.

AMY GOODMAN:

Hundreds of marriages are expected to take place in the coming days, following the California Supreme Court’s historic May 15th decision that struck down laws excluding gay and lesbian couples from the right to marry. The court ruled such laws were unconstitutional. California is now the second state, after Massachusetts, to legalize same-sex marriage.

But anti-gay marriage groups have already mobilized challenges to the legalization. A simple majority voting for a measure on the state ballot this November called the California Marriage Amendment could overturn the court decision. The amendment defines marriage as “between a man and woman.”

But that isn’t stopping California’s queer couples who want to get hitched. Linda Martinez and Regina Rodriguez are a Los Angeles couple who have been together for nine years. They’re getting married this Friday, live on Pacifica Radio station KPFK on the show Uprising Radio. Linda and Regina join us now from Los Angeles.

Welcome to Democracy Now!

REGINA RODRIGUEZ: Thank you.

LINDA MARTINEZ: Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: Tell us about why you’ve decided to get married.

REGINA RODRIGUEZ:

Well, we have the same right as any couple, straight, gay, however we want to look at it, to have a — to get married. We’ve been together for a long time. We’re committed. And we should have that same right as anyone else.

AMY GOODMAN:

And talk about the decision, the court decision, and what it means to you.

LINDA MARTINEZ:

It means that we’re finally — it’s finally come to the point where people are realizing that, you know, love is love, no matter who you’re loving or how you’re loving. And it’s pretty much — yeah, it’s an important thing in history where people are actually realizing that we all should be treated the same.

AMY GOODMAN:

Regina, how did you decide to get married on KPFK, live on Pacifica Radio on Sonali Kolhatkar’s show, Uprising?

REGINA RODRIGUEZ:

Actually, Linda was just surfing the web, and we came across the article, and we put it in, and they called us. And it meant a lot to us just to finally, you know, have a voice and finally get this recognition of getting married, and it went from there.

AMY GOODMAN:

When did you meet?

REGINA RODRIGUEZ:

We met nine years ago, July 19, and been together ever since. Actually, I think we only had like maybe a weekend apart from each other in the nine years.

LINDA MARTINEZ:

Everything’s been really smooth. We have very supportive friends and family, which is really, really great.

AMY GOODMAN:

And, Linda, what does it mean to you to be married? Can you talk about what you gain by being legally married, as opposed to just remaining together?

LINDA MARTINEZ:

I think it’s just the recognition and being seen as a married couple with our family and with everybody else, and then the things that you get, the rights that you get when you’re married. And I think people see you differently when you’re saying, “This is my wife,” versus “This is my girlfriend,” and they see that you’re actually in a committed — real committed relationship, even though it shouldn’t matter. But there are things, there are perks for this. And it’s just the whole thing that we finally get to do it. And it’s great. It’s a point in history, and I hope it sticks.

AMY GOODMAN:

Do you have children?

LINDA MARTINEZ:

No, we do not, but we plan to very soon. We do. And our parents are already talking about the future children that we’re going to have — hopefully just one. But — so it’s nice. It’s nice.

AMY GOODMAN:

And both of your parents’ acceptance?

REGINA RODRIGUEZ:

Yes.

LINDA MARTINEZ:

Yes, yes, yes. She has a father, and I have a mother, and we both have parents that have passed. And they’re both very, very supportive.

AMY GOODMAN:

Who will officiate at your ceremony on KPFK on Friday?

LINDA MARTINEZ:

You mean the reverend?

AMY GOODMAN:

Yes.

LINDA MARTINEZ:

Reverend Neil Thomas. I believe he’s from the MCCLA. And he was — he had notified the radio station right away when he heard the broadcast, and he’s been really, really great.

AMY GOODMAN:

Will you go on a honeymoon?

LINDA MARTINEZ:

Actually, yes. We were offered actually a little getaway at a cottage in the desert, Joshua Tree. So we’ll probably take that up, probably not in the summer — it gets a little hot, but we’ll wait until it gets cool. But yeah, we’re excited about that.

AMY GOODMAN:

Have you written your vows?

LINDA MARTINEZ:

We’ve actually chose a pretty short but sweet vow that Reverend Thomas had given us. And so, we went through them, because we don’t have a lot of time at the ceremony when we do it on radio, but yeah.

REGINA RODRIGUEZ:

We have our stuff planned out.

LINDA MARTINEZ: Yeah, we’re still planning.

REGINA RODRIGUEZ: And we pretty much know what we’re going to say. We’ve been waiting nine years for it, so...

AMY GOODMAN:

And you’re going to say...?

REGINA RODRIGUEZ:

I will tell her that, you know, I love her very much. I definitely want to spend the rest of my life with her. And I’m so excited to see what the future holds for us.

AMY GOODMAN:

Well, Regina Rodriguez and Linda Martinez, it’s wonderful to have you on. Congratulations.

REGINA RODRIGUEZ:

Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: And congratulations to KPFK, Pacifica Radio, for, I believe, being the first to host a legally sanctioned wedding on the air. And we will broadcast some of what you do on Sonali’s show.

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