History will be made at 8 a.m. today in Stockton and Sacramento.
Marriage licenses for same-sex couples will be issued in San Joaquin, Sacramento and California's 56 other counties in response to the California Supreme Court legalizing gay marriage by a 4-3 vote on May 15.
Sacramento County's Recorder-County Clerk's Office promises to be crowded because it has at least 70 appointments for gay and straight weddings today, Assistant Clerk-Recorder Wanda Dark said last week. And it was busy on Monday, with callers unable to get through.
Three calls to Dark on Monday resulted in the recording: "We are experiencing a large volume of calls. Please try again later."
Meanwhile, in Stockton, San Joaquin County officials don't know what to expect because they don't make appointments, Teresa Williamson, operations manager for the county Recorder-County Clerk's Office, said Monday afternoon.
Gay marriage became legal statewide at 5:01 p.m. Monday. County offices had the option of remaining open after 5 or to wait until this morning to issue marriage licenses. San Francisco and Yolo were among the counties that remained open after 5 p.m. on Monday.
Starting today, marriage licenses no longer list the bride and groom. The forms now list couples as "Party A" and "Party B," just in case they are the same gender.
There will be distinct differences in format among San Joaquin and Sacramento counties. In downtown Sacramento and Fair Oaks, the County Clerk-Recorder's Office will perform actual ceremonies in a small chapel.
But in Stockton, wedding ceremonies have never been performed at the Recorder-County Clerk's Office, Williamson said. Straight and same-sex couples alike will merely fill out paperwork and receive a license, she said.
Ken Owen of Lodi, a conservative Christian who is founder and director of Christian Community Concerns, said he has urged county Supervisor Ken Vogel and Recorder-County Clerk Gary Freeman to postpone any gay marriages in San Joaquin County until after the November election, when voters will decide whether to overturn the Supreme Court's ruling and limit marriage to one man and one woman.
Licenses for same-sex couples will be available at 8 a.m. today in Stockton and Sacramento.
San Joaquin County
When: Weekdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Recorder-County Clerk's Office on the second floor of the Pacific State Bank building, 6 S. El Dorado St., Stockton.
Information: 468-3939, www.sjgov.org/Recorder.
When: Weekdays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; this week only, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. In Fair Oaks, hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: 600 Eighth St. at F Street, Sacramento; 5229-B Hazel Ave. at Madison Avenue, Fair Oaks.
Information and appointments: (916) 874-6334, www.ccr.saccounty.net/MARFAQ.asp.
Source: San Joaquin and Sacramento counties
Local views on gay marriage
Christian Community Concerns
"I think (the marriage initiative is) a do or die for the homosexuals and the Christian community and the citizens at large. For homosexuals, they want the word 'marriage.' This is going to set them back. It's do or die for the institution of marriage. Marriage will not exist as we know it if this constitutional amendment is not passed."
Retired Lutheran pastor
"The gay and lesbian people I know are honest people, people of integrity who deserve to be able to live with a partner with the same legal and financial responsibilities and privileges that go with marriage.
"What was the culture of the Old Testament, and what force does the Old Testament have in our life today? All Christians choose to ignore certain passages of scripture which are violent and mean-spirited - stoning, adultery, killing all inhabitants of a city or village that was conquered, those kinds of things."
- News-Sentinel staff