Same Sex Couples Celebrate Anniversaries

June 17, 2009 11:20:18 PM PDT
Gay marriage supporters are celebrating an historic and bittersweet milestone as many same sex couples celebrate their first wedding anniversaries. About 18,000 thousand same sex couples were married in California last year, many on June 17th, the first day the licenses were issued. Wednesday, they celebrated their anniversaries together to show support for their peers who can no longer say "I do."About two dozen couples gathered by the water tower in downtown Fresno to commemorate the occasion and also call for change. "We're very sad and angry, really, about the fact that there are same sex couples out in the state that will not be allowed to get married right now," said Ellis Vance. Vance and his husband have been legally married for one year but have been together for 43.

Organizer Scotti Maldonado said he and his partner weren't quite ready to get married last June. Now, they're ready, but it's no longer legal. "We want the right to marry. We want the same freedoms as everyone else," said Maldonado.

Robin McGehee and wife Kathy Adams spent part of their anniversary being photographed by a member of the Japanese media for a story profiling their activism. While they've been together 10 years, they agreed the word "marriage" changed things. "There's a trust about just being and that we will be with each other no matter what. It's different," said Adams.

"I'm a person of faith. I'm a person that believes that language creates that social structure and that's why I wanted it to be important for us," said McGehee.

As same sex couples observed their historic milestone, Dr. Scott Hansen called the day a token victory. The senior pastor at The Bridge church says the state of California has made it's stance on the issue very clear. "We will stand against what we believe is evil. And the scriptures speak of homosexual practice as something that is not appropriate," said Hansen.

Not all religious leaders agree with Hansen. The Reverend Bryan Jessup attended the first anniversary celebration in downtown Fresno to show same sex couples they're not alone. "Marriage is a civil right. It's not a religious issue at all," said Jessup.

Same sex marriage supporters are also mobilizing for another fight at the ballot box. Opponents say they, too, will be ready for another campaign to protect traditional marriage.

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