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559 gay couples rush to tie knot
San Francisco's marriage license bureau is besieged with gay couples receiving licenses, while conservative opponents fail to get a judge to stop the practice.
SAN FRANCISCO - Despite accusations that the mayor is riding roughshod over the law, conservative groups failed to stop San Francisco from issuing same-sex marriage licenses Friday as hundreds more gay couples rushed to tie the knot before the opportunity slipped away.
All day long, the marble passages beneath City Hall's ornate gold dome echoed with applause as one couple after another got hitched, promising to be ''spouses for life.'' As of Friday night, 559 couples had gotten married.
San Francisco not the first to marry couples of the same gender
Back in 1975, when she was the county clerk for Boulder, Colo., Rorex made headlines -- and enemies -- when she changed the words "male" and "female" to "person" on the county's marriage license application and allowed six same-sex couples to wed.
None of the licenses has held up in court -- but then, not all of them have been challenged.
And at least one of the four gay male couples celebrated their 25-year wedding anniversary a few years ago. Rorex also helped two lesbian couples tie the knot.
Even the opposition admits that San Francisco's rush to perform marriages for same-sex couples took them by surprise.
"Frankly, it was a brilliant strategy. They got it done," said Richard Ackerman, an attorney for CCF. "The unfortunate fact is that these people who think they are married may find out Tuesday they are not."
With the court closing Monday for Presidents Day, it appeared unlikely that the legal challenge could be heard before Tuesday.
Meanwhile, same-sex couples continued filing through San Francisco City Hall as if it were Las Vegas wedding chapel.
City Assessor Mabel Teng said she expected 300 to 500 gay and lesbian couples to take out marriage licenses Friday, and the building will remain open Saturday -- Valentine's Day -- in a departure from the usual schedule.