Valley Reaction to State Supreme Court on Same-Sex Marriage

Fresno, CA In a 4-3 decision, the justices ruled it was discriminatory to give gay couples the rights of married people, but not allow them to call themselves married.

California is only the second state to legalize gay marriage. Massachusetts was the first, in 2003. The ruling is disappointing to some, but a long-awaited victory for others, including a local couple who were part of the movement in San Francisco, which led to Thursday's ruling. "Public perception is changing." Robin McGehee of Fresno said the State Supreme Court ruling to overturn a ban on gay marriage was based on equal rights for same-sex couples. McGehee said "I have two children. I have a partner for ten years. The ability to validate that relationship and whether people want to admit or not, the word marriage carries weight."

Aaron Olson and his partner A.J. Kruth were among the 4,000 couples who got married in San Francisco four years ago. Mayor Gavin Newsome ordered the county clerk to issue the licenses, which were later ruled invalid.

The Fresno couple hopes to soon be legally wed. Olson said "So I would assume sometime in June you should start seeing an influx of same sex couples applying for marriage licenses, at least in Fresno County." But Fresno County Clerk Victor Salazar expects an appeal to filed. He says same-sex marriage licenses won't be handed out anytime soon.

Olson said "The feeling is good but the struggle isn't over. We still have to face the November amendment on the ballot."

Conservative groups are proposing an amendment banning gay marriage. They hope to have it on the November ballot.

Assemblyman Mike Villines of Clovis said "I am confident the people of California will again overwhelmingly vote to preserve and protect traditional marriage," McGehee said "My fear is that even this is a euphoric happy moment, there's still that possibility that this decision by the California Supreme Court could be negated."

Salazar said his office fielded several calls asking about same-sex marriage licenses.

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