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Same-Sex Couples Request Marriage Certificates

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Dozens of Valley couples tied the knot this Valentine's Day at the Fresno county clerk's office and several same-sex couples tried as well but were turned away.

More than a year has passed since same-sex couples could show up here to the clerks office and pay for their marriage certificate.

Even though the law has not changed many couples showed up Sunday afternoon in protest.

Jason Garrigus and David Zandt's dream is to get married on Valentines.

"We're very much in love and we would like to make it legal for everybody to know and to enter into a committed relationship and so we would like to apply for a marriage license," said Garrigus.

However, under Prop 8 this couple cannot legally marry.

"The California constitution was changed to restrict or to limit marriages as only between a male and a female. We are not able to assist you," said Fresno county Clerk Victor Salazar.

52% of California voters decided this legislation in November 2008. But that did not stop couples like Garrigus and Zandt from asking for a marriage license Sunday.

"We would really like to have the same rights as any other heterosexual couples under the law," asked another same-sex couple but the Clerk's answer did not change.

Salazar: "I'm not able to do that."

Valentines is the busiest day of the year for the Clerk's office.

Dozens of couples in love show up making their commitments legal.

These Prop 8 protesters knew the county would not honor their marriage requests.

"They're not asking for special rights. They just want to be treated equally and so we hope the court will come down with a decision in our favor in the next few months," said Jason Scott with Marriage Equality USA.

The constitutionality of Prop 8 is currently being challenged in the U.S. District Court.

Supporters of same-sex marriage want this case to reach the Supreme Court where the hope is the 2008 vote will be overturned.

Until then, Garrigus and Zandt settled for their only other legal option, a civil union outside.

Evidence in the current Prop 8 trial is under review.

There is no word when the U.S. District Court judge will hear closing arguments.

Sunday's ceremonies did not create any overtime for the Clerk's office. Besides staff already on hand volunteers showed up to help out.

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Tags:
fresno, gay rights, valentine's day, local, john-thomas kobos
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