Fresno County Clerk Prepares for Gay Weddings

June 17, 2008 9:53:00 AM PDT
Jason Scott and Randy Gray have been together for 8 years. They've known they wanted to get married for a while. But now, they're rushing to get their tuxedo's fitted for a Tuesday morning wedding. Jason said they want to be one of the first gay couples in Fresno County to marry. "It's just so much more satisfying to do it now after all the work we've done."------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Jason works with "Marriage Equality" a national group committed to making marriage possible for same-sex couples. An exclusive Action News poll conducted by Survey USA shows the majority of central valley residents still oppose gay marriage.

31 percent of those polled believe same sex marriages should be allowed. But 65 percent say they should not. Jason and Randy will be at the county clerk's office at 7 AM Tuesday, an hour before it opens, ready to say their "I do's" for a second time. The first time was four years ago in San Francisco. Jason said, "Of course now we'll hopefully have a license that will be valid forever."

Fresno County Clerk Victor Salazar said, "We follow the law, regardless of what my sentiments are." He is expecting so many gay and lesbian couples Tuesday morning that he set up another room to perform wedding ceremonies. "This has been a challenge. I have concerns about tomorrow. It's very contentious, people are very passionate. It certainly has the potential to go beyond civil conduct."

Salazar made arrangements with Fresno police, the sheriff's department, and county security to have a presence inside and outside the office Tuesday. Fresno police don't think there will be a problem but are ready to roll out extra officers if they're needed.

Don Watnick with the Fresno County Republican Party doesn't think tomorrow's events will get violent despite many people's strong opposition to same-sex marriages. "When you distort what a family is you bring down the very basis for what our country is built upon."


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