Volunteers officiate at San Francisco’s gay marriages this weekend
Wide-eyed with a smile from ear to ear, a rosy face and sweat on her brow, Nani Randall didn’t seem to want to catch her breath Saturday at San Francisco’s City Hall.
“This is the best place to be in the world!” the 47-year-old exclaimed as she waited for the next soon-to-be newlyweds to arrive. “Why would you want to be anywhere else?”
Randall, a former law enforcement officer with San Francisco’s public transportation system, is one of about 100 volunteers working in the only county in California performing same-sex marriages over the weekend.
The city is schooled in the way of marriage rushes, city officials said.
For a short time in both 2004 and 2008, same-sex marriages were legal in San Francisco. Now they’re the only ones in California performing them this weekend.
“It’s a good problem to have,” said Francis Tsang, a spokesman for Mayor Edwin Lee’s office.
Nearly half a dozen folding tables were set up across one side of the county clerk’s office, where couples met their wedding official after having their marriage license certified.
Most of the volunteers are current or former city and county workers who wanted to be a part of history.
“Do you feel the joy? You can feel the electricty in the air,” said Gabriel Breitzke-Rivera, 66. “I wouldn’t miss this.”
Breitzke-Rivera married his husband in 2008. The former deputy sheriff, donning a black judge’s robe and sipping water to keep cool, tried not to tear up as he described his own wedding ceremony and what the couples he’s marrying now must feel.
“It gave me a status I’m very proud of, and I don’t use the word ‘pride’ flippantly,” he said. “It took everything up a notch. The reality, the enormity, the beauty, the justice of it. It all came up at that moment.”
He then had to run off. Another couple had arrived at his table a witness by their side and license in hand, eager to say “I do.”
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