San Diego Couple Seeks Marriage License Moments After Prop 8 Decision

Chris Harris and Joseph Bruglin were the first couple at the county clerk's office on Wednesday

Elena Gomez

Once San Diego couple Chris Harris and Joseph Bruglin heard the news that the U.S. Supreme Court decided it cannot take up the challenge to Prop 8, they decided to go to clerk's office to seek a marriage license.

The decision from high court meant that same-sex marriage was once again legal in California, so Harris and Bruglin wanted to seize the opportunity right away.

"We were concerned that if it became legal again we would need to get our license day one, minute one, that you never know, they may change it, another lawsuit may get filed," said Harris.

They were the very first couple to stop by the San Diego County Clerk office Wednesday.

The pair has been together for nearly three years and is celebrating with a 500-person wedding next month. When asked how they felt about today’s ruling, they said it felt monumental.

“It’s one of those moments where you will always remember where you were sitting and for us, it's like a historical moment,” said Harris. “So we wanted to be here right off the bat, hopefully to be a part of history."

So Harris and Bruglin decided to go get their marriage license right away, and walked into the San Diego County Clerk’s office right after it opened. But that’s when they realized they wouldn’t be getting any papers right then.

“At this time, we’re not taking appointment but if we can get your name and number, we’d be happy to call you back and make an appointment, once we get the final approval to start same-sex marriages,” said an office employee.

Harris laughed and said, “So, it’s an appointment for an appointment.”

She smiled, and said, “Yes.”

“So there’s no way we can convince you to go ahead and do one right now?” Harris asked?

“Not until we get the authority to start,” she replied.

Chief Deputy Recorder County Clerk for San Diego County Val Wood explained that at this time they are not allowed issue any licenses or perform ceremonies.

“There are no changes in the procedures that we're following,” Wood said. “We're just waiting to receive direction so that we can begin."

Once it’s approved, Wood expects they will begin back-to-back appointments.  Couples will pay $70 for a public marriage license or $89 for a confidential license. Civil ceremonies at the office cost $88.

“We do feel that we can accommodate the customers with our current staffing, and when we receive direction, we will begin,” she said.

Calfornia’s governor and attorney general have urged offices to resume same-sex marriages “as soon as possible.” Then AP reported a federal appeals court said Wednesday it will likely wait at least 25 days before making a decision on whether gay marriages can resume in California.

Which means Harris and Bruglin will have to wait. In the meantime, they’re happy a high court decision was made in their favor. 

"We had faith that the Supreme Court would come through somewhat,” said Harris.

And most of all, they’re excited to spend the rest of their lives together – officially.

“It’s surreal. It’s about time,” said Bruglin. “Just real, real joy.”

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