Southern California -- this just in

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Couple left standing at altar by Prop. 8 ruling

August 12, 2010 |  2:25 pm

Bruce Mayhall and Tom Rastrelli were the first in line Thursday morning at the Beverly Hills Courthouse, ready to get a marriage license if good news came down from Judge Vaughn Walker.

They dressed in matching pink shirts and waited.

As the hours passed, they watched heterosexual couple after heterosexual couple -- decked out in suits and white dresses -- pass them in line to get married.

They waited off to the side for their turn.

Then, at initial news of the stay being lifted, they cheered.

They got back in line only to discover that the court would not issue them a marriage license until they received official word.

They said the official ruling -– that marriages are on hold at least through Aug. 18 -– made them furious.

"It makes me sick and sad, but mostly furious," said Mayhall, 60, a college professor.

The couple have been together for three years. When they had a chance to be married in 2008, they decided against it because they didn't want to rush things. Since then, they have exchanged rings and now consider themselves married. But they want to make it official, Mayhall said, for the sake of equality.

Both of them had been out of state this week, but they rushed back to Los Angeles Wednesday, hoping to be married Thursday evening "with the sun setting in the background."

Instead, they left dejected and, at least in the eyes of the law, still unwed. "I feel mentally and physically exhausted and disappointed. My body was all revved up in the waiting, and now that I know, it's just crashed," Rastrelli said.

They said they will come back to the courthouse next week and wait -– once again -– for a chance to get married.

-- Esmeralda Bermudez in Beverly Hills