HECTOR AMEZCUA / hamezcua@sacbee.com

Vik Cho of Sacramento, foreground, joins fellow opponents of same-sex marriage Monday outside the Sacramento County clerk's offices, where six dozen couples got marriage licenses.

Video: Demand high in Sacramento County for marriage licenses after Proposition 8 decision

Published: Tuesday, Jul. 2, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3B
Last Modified: Monday, Sep. 30, 2013 - 3:30 pm

Six dozen couples obtained marriage licenses Monday – more than twice the average – on the first full day the Sacramento County clerk wed same-sex partners after last week's U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

Clerk/Recorder Craig Kramer said his office issued 72 licenses, compared with the average 33 licenses he issues daily. His office did not track how many of the licenses Monday went to same-sex couples.

Kramer said Valentine's Day tends to have the most traffic at about 80 licenses. Every online slot this week has been booked, although the office will accommodate additional couples this week who call in.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to review a lower court decision that California's gay marriage ban was unconstitutional. Two days later, the clerk's office married 19 same-sex couples once the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifted its stay.

Patricia Medina, 29, and Lorena Garcia, 35, were among those to wed Monday in Sacramento. Medina said they have wanted to marry for the past eight months. Nine of their friends and family waited in anticipation of the wedding.

"We're no different from everybody else, so there's no reason we can't enjoy the same rights," said Medina, who assumed Garcia's name after the wedding.

She added that marriage meant more than receiving government benefits. "We're equal," she said.

Sacramento County Chief Deputy Clerk/Recorder Donna Allred said Monday was "more scheduled and not as chaotic" as Friday, when the office extended its hours to 7 p.m. so same-sex couples could wed on short notice.

One same-sex couple showed up at 4 a.m. Monday to wait for the clerk's office to open at 8, Allred said.

Eight to 10 people protested across the street but disbanded by late morning.

In a news release, the demonstrators described themselves as "a Christian group" and stated, "Only God can define marriage."

Kramer said he received one email criticizing same-sex weddings.

The clerk's office would not disclose how many licenses it issued to same-sex partners, since "we don't look at them as same-sex," Allred said.

Placer County didn't distinguish, either.

"We don't categorize people that way," said Ryan Ronco, its assistant recorder-registrar of voters. "We're not keeping a count of how many bald men have come in, or how many Asian-Pacific Islanders have come in and requested marriage licenses."

Ronco said his office issued 16 marriage licenses Monday, compared with the average of 12 for this time of year. The office also performed four wedding ceremonies, compared with an average of three.

Yolo and El Dorado counties each received two requests Monday for licenses from same-sex partners, according to officials there.

"I pretty much predicted that we would be fairly quiet this week," said Jeffrey Barry, Yolo's chief deputy clerk/recorder. "Our phones were quiet (Friday)."

Call The Bee's Jeffrey Dastin, (916) 321-1037.

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