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Santa Ana: 'We just wanted to be part of this beautiful day'

June 17, 2008 |  1:24 pm

Just outside the clerk’s office at the old county courthouse in Santa Ana, Karen S. Stoyanoff, Lee Marie Sanchez and Rayna Hamre offered to officiate the wedding of any couple who asked.

Stoyanoff, a minister at Orange Coast Unitarian Universalist Church, wore a black robe and stole emblazoned with the symbols of different faiths.

For the last 15 years, she has performed nearly a dozen commitment ceremonies in Illinois and California. She remembers details from each one. The first was a backyard ceremony in suburban Chicago; one bride wore a tailored pantsuit, the other wore a breezy summer dress.

Today, most couples who wanted a ceremony brought their own officiants. Others said their vows sitting at a desk across from a county employee. Stoyanoff and her friend said they’d wait around a few hours just in case someone needed them.

“We just wanted to be part of this beautiful day,” Stoyanoff said. “Today means we’ve moved forward to justice.”

-- Paloma Esquivel