SAN FRANCISCO — The lead plaintiffs in the U.S. Supreme Court case that overturned California's same-sex marriage ban tied the knot at San Francisco City Hall on Friday, about an hour after a federal appeals court freed gay couples to obtain marriage licenses for the first time in 4 1/2 years.
State Attorney General Kamala Harris presided at the wedding of Kris Perry and Sandy Stier of Berkeley as hundreds of supporters watched and cheered. The couple sued to overturn the state's voter-approved gay marriage ban along with Jeff Katami and Paul Zarrillo of Burbank, who planned to marry Friday evening at Los Angeles City Hall.
"By joining the case against Proposition 8, they represented thousands of couples like themselves in their fight for marriage equality," Harris, who had asked the appeals court to act swiftly, said during Stier and Perry's brief ceremony. "Through the ups and downs, the struggles and the triumphs, they came out victorious."
Harris declared Perry, 48, and Stier, 50, "spouses for life," but during their vows, they took each other as "lawfully wedded wife." One of their twin sons served as ring bearer.
Although the couple fought for the right to wed for years, their wedding came together in a flurry when a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a brief order Friday afternoon dissolving, "effective immediately," a stay it imposed on gay marriages while the lawsuit challenging the ban advanced through the courts.
The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on Wednesday that Proposition 8's sponsors lacked authority to defend the measure in court once Harris and Gov. Jerry Brown, both Democrats, refused to do so.