There were just a few couples waiting to get married this morning at the old historic courthouse in downtown Santa Ana, but by 9 a.m.—an hour after the county clerk/recorder's office opened—what had been a trickle had turned into a flood. The occasion, of course, was the first hour that same-sex marriages in Orange County would be legally recognized.
Once couples had filled out the proper paperwork (which, as of last night, had been changed to read “Party 1” and “Party 2”), some left—they had weddings to plan, after all—but others, caught up in the whirl, opted to get hitched right there at the courthouse, in various areas. Some got married outside on the steps; some got married in the old 3rd floor courtroom, which could accomodate a good-sized number of friends, family and (on this day at least) news media; and some, including Newport Beach couple Jim Carroll and Rich Videgain, who've been together for 33 years and will go down on record as being the first same-sex couple to legally marry in Orange County, went off into a small enclave inside the recorder's office and exchanged rings there (hopefully we'll have the video of their ceremony uploaded here in a bit).
And, of course, an occasion such as this was bound to bring out the fundamentalist Christians—and how many showed? One. Two. Three. Three of them, plus a black woman who popped up later in the morning who was dressed in a full-on minister's robe, carrying a shepherd's crook and a white cross with the word REPENT emblazoned on it. All she really did was sing hymns, which were actually quite lovely. Unlike the fat, bearded gent who yelled at everybody he could about his God's coming judgement, sin, damnation, fire, brimstone, etc. etc. Best take on the protesters came from Michael Valencia, 43, who volunteers at OC soup kitchens as part of the Catholic Worker charity org: “I wonder why I never see any of these people there volunteering.” Hmmm… true. After all, what WOULD Jesus do: feed the hungry or scream at the homosexshuls?
Keep an eye on Navel Gazing throughout the day for more pics and video footage from the Santa Ana courthouse.