Many remain hopeful after judge extends hold on his ruling overturning ban on gay marriage
Several couples who gathered at the Los Angeles County registrar’s office in Norwalk on Thursday hoping to get married said they were disappointed but not discouraged after the judge who overturned California’s ban on gay marriage extended his hold on the order until Aug. 18.
Judith Loniak, 52, and her partner Pam Pudewa, 45, of Long Beach found out about U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker’s decision on Facebook. Walker gave supporters of Proposition 8 until next week to appeal his ruling to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
“We’re shaking,” Loniak, a nursing instructor, said after hearing the news. The couple were wearing matching purple Hawaiian hurts and had brought custom wedding bands for their marriage ceremony.
“She’s my immediate family and I’m hers,” Loniak said of her partner. “If one of us were to die, our family could take everything. She would not have the right to [the house] even though she lives in the house….We want to be recognized as a couple and as humans.”
The couple said they still plan to get married Saturday.
“We still want our friends and family to recognize our commitment and witness it even though the law doesn’t,” Pudewa said. “Hopefully, they will recognize it by the 18th.”
Elizabeth Varellas, 33, and her partner, Jamie Davis, 24, said they sat for five hours at the registrar’s office watching heterosexual couples get married.
“We watched one couple who are here for their third marriage,” Varellas said. “I just want my first and only marriage. Britney Spears has more rights than I do. She was married 36 hours and hers is valid and mine isn’t. It’s garbage.”
“We have to wait six days, that is enough time for the opposition to find a judge to appeal,” Davis added.
Amanda Pentecost, 25, and Dana Millhollin, 24, said they were also disappointed in the ruling.
“This is a shallow victory,” Pentecost said. “We have to wait six more days. That window can close again for years.”
“I have a daughter who is 4½,” Millhollin said. “I want her to know this is OK. I want it to be official that we are family.”
Susan Pentecost, Amanda’s mother, said she and her husband had come to the registrar’s office hoping to witness their daughter’s marriage.
“We are hugely disappointed,” she said. “This is another hurdle on the road to equality for American citizens. They pay their taxes. They deserve the same right as every other citizen in this country.“