Hoping the third time’s the charm

Their suits were pressed, their smiles broad, and their place in line historic.

Hank Donat, a 41-year-old writer, and Jeffrey Halpern, a 43-year-old executive, snagged the No. 1 spot for a marriage license and an official wedding in San Francisco, where it all began four years ago.

“This is the happiest day of my life -- for the third time,” Donat said.

The couple were hitched in 2004 when San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom began same-sex marriages. But that marriage, with 4,000 others, was voided in court.


Last Halloween, the men registered as domestic partners. (That would be Event No. 2.) When the California Supreme Court OKd same-sex marriages in May, they raced to sign up -- which is how they ended up in the San Francisco supervisors’ ornate chambers at 8:30 a.m. for Ceremony No. 3 -- a wedding.

They exchanged vows before Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who said, “The third time’s a charm.”

here’s an unexpected complication of same-sex weddings: remembering who’s who.

In Norwalk, Lionel Ignacio, 54, a professional massage therapist and volunteer wedding officiant for the day, stood solemnly before two men in identical black outfits and rainbow scarves.

Looking at Jaime Pineda, 42, he intoned: “David, repeat after me . . .”

Jaime blinked, confused, but gamely recited his vow.

Looking at David Resendez, 45, the officiant intoned: “Jaime -- “

“I’m David.”

Ignacio corrected himself and continued. “David -- “

“Jaime,” said Jaime.

In the end, though, it all worked out, and the men were jubilant.

They met 18 years ago in Santa Monica when Resendez was a bus driver. “He got on my bus and never got off,” Resendez said.

Adriana Hinojosa, 34, and Benigna Huerta, 40, did the kinds of things that tourists from Omaha do when they visit L.A. They hit Disneyland and Universal Studios -- and then they got married.

“It’s just a way to make it official,” said Hinojosa, a Spanish interpreter at the county courthouse in Omaha.

The women have been together five years and marked their commitment in a religious ceremony at Omaha’s Metropolitan Community Church in 2003. Both their families came, from Kansas and Puebla, Mexico.

On Tuesday, they stood in line for a license their home state wouldn’t recognize.

In front of them, Celia Rodriguez, 30, was picking up a birth certificate for her daughter.

"¡Felicidades!” she told the women. “I say, why not?” declared the medical receptionist from Inglewood.

it was only fitting that a former Marine was half of the first same-sex couple to marry in San Diego. Bob Lehman and Tom Felkner, both 43, have lived together for 15 years.

Lehman’s brother, Jeff, a retired Marine, married the couple on the broad lawn outside the county building.

In the midst of the festivities, talk turned to the battle over the ballot measure that would ban same-sex marriage. Bob Lehman, a former Marine sergeant with combat experience in the Persian Gulf War, said he was ready: “Marines aren’t afraid of a fight.”

officials tried but couldn’t make all the changes necessary to conduct 100% gender-neutral weddings.

In San Bernardino, staffers at the Hall of Records quietly removed their suddenly dated bride-and-groom souvenir glassware. Inside a display case, a few groom-groom and bride-bride photos soon complemented those of happy heterosexual couples.

But in Oakland, Louis Timphony, 59, and James Gormley, 63, leafed through a booklet titled “Your Future Together,” a keepsake courtesy of the Alameda County clerk’s office.

“I hope they get this updated,” Timphony said after noting the sections on genetic diseases and family planning.