It was quite a hectic wedding day for San Francisco residents Jeff Aguero and Sebastian Tonkin.
As soon as the two men heard that same-sex marriage ceremonies were starting up Friday evening, they rushed home from work, changed their clothes, called a few friends and grabbed a taxi. They arrived at San Francisco City Hall and became No. 177 in the line for the ceremonies. Soon enough, they were exchanging vows and rings under the landmark rotunda.
"We feel it’s really the beginning of our life together," said Aguero, who works at a start-up that helps nonprofits.
The men, both 28, had married last year in a Lake Tahoe ceremony that was not recognized by the state or federal government. They also had registered as domestic partners. But they faced uncertainties about taxes, survivors’ benefits and other issues as long as same-sex marriage was not legal in California and federal rules banned the recognition of such unions.
After Friday’s wedding, they feel "a lot more certain" about those legal and financial matters, Aguero said. They are planning to shop for land to buy together in Marin County and to possibly build a house there.
They had thought of themselves as fully married before, but they knew wider society might not consider them spouses without a government-sanctioned wedding.
"Now it is really 100% a marriage, and I can call it that with confidence," said Tonkin, who works for a technology company.
In what was in effect their second wedding, they used the rings they have worn for a year. And although Friday’s event was emotional, it was "more of a sense of validation rather than the nervousness or other feelings you have the first time," Tonkin said.
They already had plans to travel to the Russian River area for a long Fourth of July weekend with friends. Now that trip is turning into a kind of second honeymoon, with some quickly planned parties.
"We will have a really fun time," Aguero said.