Orange Countians Cancel Wedding Plans

Orange Countians Cancel Wedding Plans

Orange County, CA — Wedding bells will not be ringing for same sex couples in Orange County, or anywhere else in California, this Thursday. Wedding planning began as soon as Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that the stay preventing the issuance of marriage licenses would be lifted at 5 PM Wednesday evening. Orange County Equality Coalition had planned for a wedding reception themed celebration at the historic Old County Courthouse in Santa Ana for this Thursday, but those plans are on hold. “A lot of people are really, really disappointed,” said Cas Gregory, OCEC’s Chair, “including my fiancée and me. This affects us very personally.”

“Immeasurable harm is being done every day that goes by that couples are not allowed the protections afforded them by legal marriage,” said Natalie Garth an attorney who formerly practiced in Arizona. She enumerated the right to make life or death decisions for a spouse, the right to inherit, the right to be included in a medical plan, the right to automatic receipt of life insurance proceeds, the right to sue for wrongful death, the right to have the protection of community property, while significant, “were all less important than the social and psychological impact of being treated as second class citizens.”

The prevailing attitude is “don‘t get mad, get even“ through political organizing and action. “I am disappointed that gay and lesbian couples will not get to marry this week, but I am hopeful that equality will come one day soon. This back and forth has made one thing very clear; we cannot stop our work until equality has been permanently restored,” said Daniel Shad, Orange County Regional Field Manager, Equality California.

“There are three branches of government in the U.S. and the courts are there to protect us from those times when democracy turns into mob rule, “ said Audrey Prosser, long time equal rights activist in Orange County and Chair of Laguna Beach Democratic Club. “An electorate can be fooled into depriving a minority of their civil rights for only so long. Then we educate them that they could be next. Who knows what rights could be voted away if this stands.” She urged people to get more information and to get involved in local and state politics.

Dave Hoen , one of the organizers of Gay Neighbors, Family and Friends of Santa Ana, pointed out that a lot of groups have formed and a lot of people got active in the wake of Proposition 8. He speculated that people, especially younger people, were taking their freedoms for granted and did not realize the level of animosity that still exists against lesbians and gays. “I have been amazed at the level of outrage and support from straight people, especially young straight kids. They just assumed everyone would be treated fairly, then they see this.”

“Marriage equality is inevitable,” says Alex Gorman, Chair of Orange County Action Network. “The time is now. People have been made to wait too long. Equal protection is equal protection, for everyone.”

These activists believe that every day that goes by without the right to marry is a day when serious legal and financial harm could occur, to say nothing of the psychological and emotional toll of being treated as second class citizens, as “less than” straight members of the community.

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For more information, contact:
Linda May
Orange County Equality Coalition
(714) 649-3453
Interviews with same sex couples who want to are available by contacting Linda May, OCEC

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