SAN FRANCISCO -- As same-sex couples continued to make their way to San Francisco City Hall to exchange wedding vows Saturday, lawyers for the sponsors of the gay marriage ban filed an emergency petition, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene and stop the weddings.
Attorneys with the Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom claim in the petition that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals acted prematurely and unfairly Friday when it allowed gay marriage to resume by lifting a stay on same-sex marriages in California while a lawsuit challenging the ban made its way to and through the Supreme Court.
Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Austin Nimocks said the Supreme Court's consideration of the case is not done yet because his clients still have 22 days to ask the justices to reconsider their decision holding that Proposition 8's backers did not have legal authority to defend the ban.
Andy Pugno, attorney for the ProtectMarriage.com Coalition, the official proponents of Proposition 8, said: "People on both sides of this debate should at least agree that the courts must follow their own rules. This kind of lawlessness just further weakens the public's confidence in the legitimacy of our legal system. We hope the Supreme Court will step in and restore some order here."
Despite the latest legal manueverings by the proponents of Proposition 8, same-sex nuptials went on -- blissfully.
At the top of the grand staircase at San Francisco City Hall stood Oakland residents Jeff Small and John Hauser with a marriage commissioner and six friends, scanning the vast rotunda for a quiet spot to hold their wedding ceremony.
Hauser, 56, suggested the mayor's balcony on the other side of the room, and all heads turned in that direction.
"I am totally fine with it," said Small, 45. "Let's start our marriage off right. I'll do whatever you like."
About 10 minutes later, they were pronounced "spouses for life."
Less than 24 hours after the 9th Circuit's ruling, more than 100 couples had already married by noon Saturday, with dozens more expected before the closure of City Hall on Saturday evening. Weddings will also be held there 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
The Oakland men, as fate would have it, met 17 years ago Sunday at a San Francisco Pride celebration and have been together since.
"It's a great coincidence,'' said Small. "It's a very special Pride. Never in my lifetime did I think we'd be getting married."
Alameda, Contra Costa and Santa Clara counties did not open their clerk's offices for same-same marriage this weekend, so many couples went to San Francisco.
But many were there already for the annual San Francisco Pride celebration and parade, which is expected to draw between 1 million and 1.5 million to the heart of the city Sunday.
That was the case with Jessica Revell, 25, and Madden Revell, 21, both of Long Beach. They met through friends two years ago at the San Francisco Pride celebration, and last weekend the women held a commitment ceremony in San Diego.
They were back in San Francisco Friday for Pride. After the surprise court decision came down, the two women quickly made plans to legalize their union Saturday. "We've talked about getting married for a very long time, and now we can,'' said Madden Revell.
Jessica Revell said before the legalization of same-sex marriage she felt marginalized. "Now we are the same as everyone. We matter,'' she said. "Now that the law is cool with it, I don't care what (people's) personal opinions are. When you don't have a law backing you, you're the different one."
Both women wore white to marry. A white T-shirt, that is, with the word "Bride" emblazoned on the front. People sold white and red roses in the rotunda, there were spectators, a crush of media, and lots of hugs, tears, cheers of joy and cellphone camera pictures.
Couples came in all types of attire Saturday, from the same orange and white Hawaiian shirts to formal off-white dresses for women to guys with matching wicker fedoras. The rainbow pride flag adorned bracelets, earrings, scarves, socks and even a few tutus.
The first couple to exchange vows at San Francisco City Hall on Friday were Kris Perry, 48, and Sandy Stier, the Berkeley couple whose case brought down the Proposition 8 ban.
Carmen Chu, San Francisco's assessor-recorder, said at least 60 people have been trained as deputy marriage commissioners, with at least 20 on duty this weekend.
Another 40 volunteers and a handful of staff members helped greet and direct people, process paperwork and handout cupcakes to couples. "We have so much outpouring of support from volunteers and so many people who want to help," said Chu. "What drives all of us is (getting married) is such a wonderful moment. People have been waiting way too long to get married, and, understanding the struggle that has happened, we are not interested in making people wait any longer."
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow Kristin J. Bender at Twitter.com/kjbender.