Twenty six years ago, two men played a game of scrabble and fell in love. Today, they were given the chance to make it official.
“I just thought this day would never come” says San Jose Scott Peeler.
He speaks slowly, his face full of emotion.
“I’m overwhelmed with joy and nervous,” he says, minutes before he and his partner for more than two decades, Bruce Crowell, walk into Santa Clara County District Supervisor Ken Yeager’s office.
"We knew we wanted to get married a long time ago," says Crowell. "I'm euphoric today."
“It’s exciting to not be marginalized,” says San Jose resident Alana Forrest.
She and girlfriend of nine years Melissa Myers were also getting married Monday morning.
“We’re equal in our own country now,” Forrest says. “It’s extraordinary!”
On Monday, July 1, beginning at 8:00 a.m. same-sex couples came to the Santa Clara County Government Offices in downtown San Jose to get married.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Friday lifted the stay that had blocked gay and lesbian weddings for several months while sponsors of Proposition 8 appealed that court's decision striking down the 2008 voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage. That was the action needed, following Wednesday's Supreme Court decision that allowed the Prop. 8 to be overturned.
Peeler and Forrest, and their spouses were just two of several couples waiting to legally marry.
“I am thrilled to be a part of this,” says San Jose resident Joan Bohnett.
Bohnett first met Peeler when he was in the sixth grade. She taught him art at the school his mother worked at. And 26 years later, it was at her home that Peeler and Crowell met.
“Is this the last equal rights movement?” she asks. “Probably not. But I’m excited and honored that they asked me to be a part of this.”
-Additional reporting by L.A. Chung