At 8 a.m. Monday, the security line at the Beverly Hills Courthouse was already out the glass doors and onto the sidewalk.
Upstairs, about 50 people waited in line for marriage licenses behind a closed door. Some couples wore matching suits or dresses. Many were smiling.
When one lesbian couple walked in wearing matching shimmery gold wedding dresses, the narrow hall erupted in a brief bout of whoops and cheers. A court official had to hush the celebrants.
"That's going to disturb the court when it gets started, just so you know," he warned gently.
"I don't know if we'll be able to contain ourselves!" one woman said.
William Heermance, 52, and Salvador Acosta, 35, were at the front of the line. The longshoreman and apartment manager have been together for 10 years and live in West Hollywood. They said they hardly slept last night, concerned the alarm clock would not go off.
"My heart will be full because I know the one I love will be protected," Heermance said as he waited.
Heermance was dressed in a linen shirt, shorts and flip flops -– all with the day's heat in mind. But Acosta had brought them changes of clothes in preparation for their marriage at a free wedding ceremony later in the day in West Hollywood.
When the doors opened, the couple went to the first of three windows issuing marriage licenses.
They filled out their paperwork, the clerk asked them to raise their right hands, and then it was over. They walked out the heavy wooden doors holding up their envelope as other couple cheers and congratulated them.
"Now onto West Hollywood," Heermance said.
With Proposition 8's ban on same-sex marriage lifted, Los Angeles County and some local cities are offering special procedures and extended hours Monday to meet heavy demand.
More than 500 couples have applied for marriage licenses online since Friday afternoon, according to Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan.
Civil ceremonies are being performed at West Hollywood's City Council chambers at 625 N. San Vicente Blvd. and the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk headquarters in Norwalk.
At the headquarters, people posed for pictures next to a red and white sign that read:
"Line for Marriage Licenses Couples only."
Lorelei and Amy Trangsrud arrived at 6:30 a.m., dressed in formal attire. Amy wore a tuxedo she said the pair had scrambled to rent over the weekend while Lorelei wore a white floor-length dress she had purchased for a ceremony the couple had just more than three years ago.
"It's hard to take it all in," Amy said, her arms wrapped around Lorelei as they waited in line.
The couple met years ago country dancing hall. As they waited for their license, Amy recalled the memory: "This beautiful woman walked in and she didn't seem to be with anyone," Amy said.
And after they walked away with paperwork in hand, Amy smiled: "It makes me bubble inside."