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Gay marriage supporters in Castro happy but hoped for more

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Prop. 8, DOMA
  • SF Examiner
  • Alex Caloza, left, and Brandon Brock, right, wait at Harvey Milk Plaza on Wednesday morning to hear the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions on DOMA and Proposition 8.

When the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision to not grant Prop. 8's appeal, Christopher Kren suggested that he and his boyfriend head to San Francisco City Hall immediately to get married. "Let's go," he yelled.

The 38-year-old Cotati resident was only half-joking. He knew he and his partner would have to wait at least another month until they could legally obtain a marriage license, but the pair were willing to do so because they've already waited five years.

Kren and his partner, Joseph Mora, were among dozens of same-sex couples and same-sex marriage supporters in the Castro district early Wednesday morning awaiting the decision from the court.

After it was announced that those fighting for Prop. 8, the voter-approved California ban on same-sex marriage, had no basis to appeal an earlier ruling that it was unconstitutional, many in the Castro were glad to see that lower court ruling stand. However, others had hoped for more sweeping changes.

"It's a little disappointing," said Paul Pratt, 40, of San Francisco. "We thought the government would make a decision outright, but this is still an important decision."

The announcements on the decisions elicited raucous cheers, honks from passing cars and lots of ringing bells. Commuters headed downtown smiled and clapped while passing the revelers.

Meaghan McMilton, 29, and Hannah Thompson, 33, held one another at the corner of Castro and Market streets, taking in the scene. They plan to get married in July, having decided last August to tie the knot regardless of the court’s decision.

“We don’t care if it’s legal or not,” McMilton said. “We’ve got 175 people coming to our wedding; it was going to happen either way for us.”

For Christopher Smith, 41, and Scott Flatgard, 34, who’ve been dating for eight years, they will have to wait a little longer to be legally recognized as a couple. Smith and Flatgard traveled from South Dakota, a state that banned same-sex marriage in 1996. The couple, however, is considering a ceremony in California, then moving to nearby Minnesota where their marriage will be recognized.

“It could’ve gone worse,” Smith said of the ruling. “We expect South Dakota to be one of the last states to recognize [same-sex marriage]; we had such big hope for this.”

Safiya Delaney, 28, doesn’t have wedding bells on her mind — she’s single — but that didn’t stop her from joining the celebrations.

“Whether it’s man-woman, man-man, or woman-woman, everybody should have the opportunity to marry,” she said.

As for Kren and Mora, they said they will begin planning their wedding now that it will be legally recognized in the state they both grew up in.

“I’ve always wanted to get married,” Mora said. “The family, the dog, the whole picture.”

And soon they can have that.