Dozens of gay couples stood in line Monday at the Beverly Hills Courthouse to get marriage licenses, and many of them planned to tie the knot in ceremonies minutes later.
A courthouse guard led 10 people at a time inside the building. They went through security and then upstairs to get in another line.
Shana Krochmal and Jessica Maxwell both wore silver dresses as they waited. The women say they thought about taking this step a few years ago when same-sex marriage was first legalized in California and before voters approved Proposition 8, which banned such marriages.
"And it seemed probably a little soon to even talk about it," Krochmal said.
"Not too soon to know, but too soon to ask," added Maxwell. "One of us might have thought the other was a little crazy. ... We've been waiting three and a half years to get this piece of paper."
Another couple, Nikki and Kelli Dennis-Whitcomb of Sunland, had a ceremony last year.
"We did our domestic partnership, but it's not the same — not the same at all — so we're really really happy to get this," Nikki said.
A few couples said they tried to get married in 2008 but didn't get a chance to do it before the window of opportunity closed and a ban went into effect. That's why some of them rushed to do it this time just in case the opportunity is short-lived again.
Some of them headed right to City Council chambers at the West Hollywood Library to tie the knot.
City Council members deputized
West Hollywood City Council members and other city officials were temporarily deputized to perform same-sex marriages during a six-hour period Monday to help meet the expected heavy demand, according to a city news release.
The officials were sworn in at 12:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at the West Hollywood Library. They will perform ceremonies from 1 to 7 p.m., on Monday only.
"On this day only, civil ceremonies will be performed free of charge on a first-come, first-serve basis," according to the release. "Couples must have a license issued by the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder before being married."
The closest Registrar-Recorder site to West Hollywood is the Beverly Hills branch, 9355 Burton Way, which issues licenses from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., weekdays.
The city will provide a complimentary shuttle between council chambers and the Beverly Hills Registrar-Recorder branch from 7:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday.
Parking will be validated at the five-story West Hollywood Park parking garage.
Monday's arrangements are being offered as a celebration of a U.S Supreme Court decision and the lifting of a federal court stay, which allowed same sex marriages to resume in California for the first time since 2008.
"Updated information on the city's continuing partnership with the County to marry couples in West Hollywood will be posted here," the release said.
The rush to the altar comes as a group of conservative legal experts filed an emergency request Saturday asking the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the same-sex weddings because its decision to not uphold voter-approved Proposition 8, is not legally final during the 25-day period when parties to the case can ask for reconsideration.
Proposition 8, which was approved in 2008, said legal marriage in California should be between a man and a woman. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals put a legal hold on the ceremonies during the court challenges, and halted the ban on Friday, leading to a rush to matrimony.