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Same-Sex Couples Begin Marrying in California

Hundreds of gay and lesbian couples filled county clerk offices across California Tuesday and exchanged marriage vows on the state's first full day of legal same-sex nuptials. Spencer Michels reports on the day and the legal battles ahead.

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  • SPENCER MICHELS, NewsHour Correspondent:

    Late this morning, 64-year-old Seth Lawrence and 46-year-old Scot Hammond, a gay couple who've been together 14 years, stepped up to the city clerk's office in San Francisco and applied for a wedding license.

    It was their second. They were among 4,000 same-sex couples married four years ago after San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, on his own, decreed gay marriage was legal and renewed the national debate on the issue.

    But those marriages were nullified when courts ruled they violated a California law passed by 61 percent of the voters in 2000 that banned same-sex marriage.

    Now Hammond and Lawrence can marry again, thanks to a State Supreme Court decision declaring that 2000 law unconstitutional and making California the second state after Massachusetts to legalize gay marriage.

  • SETH LAWRENCE:

    I wish my folks were here.

  • SPENCER MICHELS:

    At their home near San Francisco's Castro district, they are planning their new wedding, set for July 6th.

  • SETH LAWRENCE:

    The cake is ordered.

  • SPENCER MICHELS:

    Complete with invitations, a wedding cake, and a personally written ceremony. The roller coaster ride of court decisions and ballot measures has not deterred them from moving ahead.

  • SCOT HAMMOND:

    A lot of people who are in hiding will come out and will show that we do have long-term relationships.

  • SETH LAWRENCE:

    I think the longer that the world sees us as married people, and that Massachusetts has not fallen into the sea, and neither will the state of California, I think they'll start realizing that there's absolutely no difference.