County Clerk’s Office booked up for June 16

As soon as the California Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry, gay men and lesbians began asking “When?”

By the end of the day Friday in San Francisco, the County Clerk’s Office booked all 76 of its appointment openings for June 16, the first weekday after the justices’ decision is scheduled to become final, according to Kenton Owyang, deputy county clerk.

The office, he said, is not as busy as it had been on Valentine’s Day 2004, when Mayor Gavin Newsom authorized the clerk to offer marriage licenses to same-sex couples because “now people can apply anywhere in the state,” Owyang said.

The state will begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses sometime before or on that date, said Lea Brooks, spokeswoman for the state’s Department of Public Health, which has been assigned to work with counties on how to handle the influx of marriage license requests.

City officials from San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego and Los Angeles said they have been bombarded with inquiries and were waiting for instruction by the state before setting up appointments with same-sex couples.

“They sound very excited and eager, but we’ve had to explain that we have not been given an effective date by the state so we can’t help them yet,” said Donna Allred, the clerk-recorder for Sacramento County.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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