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West Hollywood celebrates resumption of gay weddings in California

FamilyMarriageWeddingsSame-Sex MarriageProposition 8 (California, 2010)

West Hollywood celebrated the resumption of gay weddings in California on Friday afternoon after a federal appeals court lifted the last legal roadblock that kept Proposition 8 in place. 

Many were stunned by the speed of the decision.

"It's so quick," said Paul Lekakis, 47, of West Hollywood. "I never dreamed in my life that this could be a concrete possibility."

Scott Schmidt, another West Hollywood resident, was amazed that the court acted so soon because it previously had indicated that it would wait nearly a month. He had expected a lot of legal hearings and arguments.

"I was caught by surprise. I usually don't expect government to be this efficient," said Schmidt, who is gay and a member of the Log Cabin Republicans. "Who expected that by Friday afternoon, people could be getting married in California?"

The swift change raised some concern among some gay people. 

Kirk Allen, 45, recalled how "the rug was pulled out from under us" at the end of the short window in 2008 when gay marriage was legal in the state. He said he's going to wait a little longer before he and his partner set a wedding date to make sure it can really happen.

"When you've been beat down like this, you want to wait a couple more days until hundreds of people are getting married," he said. "Give me the numbers, and I'll feel more secure."

John Haigh feared that the unusually fast move could generate backlash from Proposition 8 advocates who might claim that the court was "giving special rights" to gay couples.

Still, he said, "today is a day to celebrate."

Todd Barnes, a 49-year-old gay man and general manager of the Abbey, a well-known gay bar in West Hollywood, said he had numerous gay friends who were engaged and ready to tie the knot. "Why wait?" he said. "There's going to be a rush."

Barnes said he thinks gay dating will become a more serious matter as people think about their boyfriends or girlfriends as potential spouses, people with whom they can have a family.

The Rev. Neil G. Thomas, senior pastor at Metropolitan Community Church in Los Angeles, was getting calls from spouses-to-be. 

"The summer of love is back," Thomas said. 

ALSO:

Gay couples begin marrying in California

Restart to gay marriage in California came as surprise to all 

Prop. 8 authors denounce restart of gay marriages in California

hailey.branson@latimes.com

matt.stevens@latimes.com

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