California will begin first gay marriages today
California begins marrying gay and lesbian couples on Monday afternoon in a step likely to challenge other states where laws define marriage as only between a man and a woman.
A state Supreme Court decision last month overturning a ban on gay marriage has already produced one major change: marriage licenses no longer list bride and groom but rather Party A and Party B.
The landmark ruling goes into effect at the close of regular business on Monday and San Francisco and Los Angeles-area West Hollywood will marry one couple each.
Around America's most populous state, with more than 36 million people, a few marriage offices will start ceremonies after 5 p.m. and work into the evening. Hundreds of volunteers have been deputized to marry couples in tents and on courthouse lawns.
Star Trek's Mr. Sulu -- actor George Takei -- says he and husband-to-be Brad Altman aim to be one of the first to get a license in the Los Angeles-area gay center of West Hollywood.
"We are boldly going where no one has gone before," he said, jokingly echoing the beginning of the science fiction TV series. "Certainly where California hasn't gone."
California is the second state to marry same-sex couples after Massachusetts, but it will be the first ready to grant licenses to couples from any state. Gay marriage is rejected by 45 states, but New York will honor new same-sex unions.