Wouldn’t you know it? OB is so far ahead … It was an Ocean Beach couple who were first in line to obtain a marriage license at the County clerk’s office on Tuesday, hoping to be wed on Valentine’s Day. And they brought twenty supporters too. By the end of the day, 96 couples had been wed on the celebrated lovers’ day.
But Jersey Deutsch and Lauren Parish – both of OB – were denied a license. Being a same-sex couple, they were told that “Marriage is between a man and a woman,“ by Sandra Banaga, the clerk assistant division chief. “I have to follow the law,” commented Banaga, who also said that she had no option but to deny the young women a license. She did tell them to return if the issues was resolved in their favor.
Jersey – who I know as an activist with the Occupy San Diego movement – and Lauren were the first gay couple to apply for a license at the County clerk’s office since the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled just days ago that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional, the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. Pending an appeal to the US Supreme Court, that ruling has been been placed “on hold” until the case and the issue is resolved.
Banaga said she had no choice but to deny the license, but she told the couple they could come back if the matter was decided in their favor.
Parish told the U-T that “the couple expected to be rejected but that she was surprised that it made her feel so sad. “I didn’t know it would feel so awful,” she said. And Deutsch added: : “It felt really, really bad.”
As Deutsch and Parish stood outside the county building, a bride dressed in a white wedding dress and veil and her new husband walked by them. The husband looked over, motioned toward the couple and said, “Someday soon.”
In all, 96 couples got married at the county building on Valentine’s Day, said Val Wood, chief deputy recorder at the county clerk’s office. At the clerk’s satellite offices, 17 weddings were performed in San Marcos and 12 in El Cajon.
The attempt to marry by Deutsch and Parish was part of the 12th annual Freedom to Marry Day organized by a coalition of groups, including the San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality, Canvass For a Cause and Marriage Equality USA.
Knowing Deutsch’s tenacity, I know she and Lauren will be back. She had been arrested during a police sweep and raid of the Occupy encampment at City Hall last Fall, and then spoke very eloquently about her arrest and rights violations to the City Council late last year – receiving a standing ovation from the audience. We luckily have not heard the last of these two.