The “Say Yes To The Dress” folks wouldn’t quite know how to handle the scene inside the Sacramento County courthouse Friday afternoon.

Abby Maurer (l) and Kim Kearsing (r) wait for a marriage license at the Sacramento County Courthouse. (Scott Detrow / KQED)
Abby Maurer (l) and Kim Kearsing (r) wait for a marriage license at the Sacramento County Courthouse. (Scott Detrow / KQED)

The happy couples who tied the knot in the hours after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals gave same-sex marriage the green light hadn’t spent much time planning out their big day. There weren’t any fancy dresses, or any table linens to pick out color schemes for.

To be fair, they hadn’t realized it was their wedding day until about an hour earlier.

Alyssa Beatty said she and her partner Emily Gaines decided to get married “15 minutes ago, when we learned that the law had changed.” Across the room, another couple had to put their ceremony on hold, when they realized they had left their wedding rings at home in the rush to get to the courthouse.

While Beatty filled out the marriage license on a computer, Gaines fussed with her necktie. She learned about the court’s decision on Facebook. “I called her and said, ‘You need to come home from work right now and we’re going to go down to the county clerk’s office.’ And she’s like, “All right, I’m on my way.’ I got in the shower, got myself cleaned up, and was still getting dressed on the way here.”

The couple has been together six years and held a commitment ceremony earlier this month, but Gaines said the legal recognition meant a lot. “I don’t know that it’s nervous. It’s just – I am jittery and shaky but I think it’s this whole weird moment of, I can’t believe this is actually happening, being able to have a legally recognized marriage.”

While Gaines and Beatty finished their paperwork, Abby Maurer and Kim Kearsing beamed in front of a throng of reporters.  Kearsing said she ran through the house screaming when she heard same-sex marriages were on. “I think my dogs were freaked out a bit.”

The couple decided to get married Friday because Maurer’s parents are already in town for her brother’s wedding.

“They’re leaving tomorrow,” Kearsing said. “Her brother got married on Friday … and now we get to get married before they leave.”

Then, one last surprise: “I’m changing my last name to Maurer,” Kearsing told reporters.

“You are? I didn’t know that! That’s news to me,“ replied Maurer.

In Sacramento’s County Courthouse, Unplanned Joy at Same-Sex Weddings 1 July,2013Scott Detrow



Scott Detrow

Sacramento bureau chief Scott Detrow covers state government, politics and policy for KQED News and its statewide news program, The California Report.

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