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West Hollywood: 'We're everywhere'

June 17, 2008 |  5:23 pm

James Adrian Genesi, 49, and James Davis, 43, drove all night from Mesa, Ariz. arriving at 3 a.m. in black suits and ties to join the line for marriage licenses. After the wedding, they planned to hop back into their car, because Genesi had to be back at work at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday at a casino outside Scottsdale.

Together for seven years, they were both excited because their moment was at hand.

"It's fabulous," Genesi said. "We've been waiting so long, we had to experience this with the rest of our extended family," referring to the other same-sex couples waiting in line to be married.

Genesi said the festivities would send a message to California voters, not only that same-sex marriage is acceptable, but also that same-sex couples are "everywhere."

"It's becoming more and more acceptable.  That's what makes America wonderful," he said.

Two women from Studio City were there with their 1-year-old daughter, Sonia, to be wed by the same rabbi who officiated at their Jewish marriage ceremony six years ago.

Leah Sussman is a homemaker and college student, and Tanya Sussman is an administrator in information technology at UCLA. Their rabbi, Lisa Edwards, had brought a chuppah, the white marriage canopy used in Jewish ceremonies.

Tanya Sussman described their first wedding as spiritual bonding. Today's event would legalize that, at least in the eyes of California. "This is just filing the paperwork," Tanya said.

Leah said: "It's a way not to have to put an asterisk next to our relationship anymore. Our daughter won't have to explain it."

Edwards was also getting a marriage license, but will marry her partner, Tracy Moore, 56, later this summer because she's too busy now. Before the state Supreme Court decision, Edwards had only one same-sex marriage scheduled. Now she has 26.

Next to Edwards stood a man with a sign reading, "Jesus is our best man." There was a celebratory tone in the air, with couples holding hands and friends hugging each other.

Edwards emphasized the importance of the high court ruling that ushered in the same-sex unions: "The ruling changes everything," she said. "It goes to the heart of why marriage is in the legal system in the first place. When we weren't acknowledged as families, that was a painful state of existence."

She said it would give her and others in her community a sense of confidence and newfound stability in their families.

-- Duke Helfand

Photo: Getty Images

James Davis, left, and Adrian Genesi joined in wedlock after driving through the night from their home in Mesa, Ariz.