It's been a long nine years, but Kris Perry and Sandy Stier are officially married.
The couple, who helped bring the lawsuit against Proposition 8 that led to last week's U.S. Supreme Court decision, exchanged vows one hour after the stay that had stopped same-sex marriages in California was lifted Friday afternoon.
Perry and Stier were officially the first couple to get married in California, but they won't be the last. Dozens of other couples had already applied for licenses at the San Francisco County Clerk's Office before it closed Friday. The office was also to remain open for much of Saturday and Sunday — Pride weekend in The City.
The ceremony, attended by hundreds of city officials, friends and family of the couple and marriage equality supporters, kicked of an already joyous weekend.
“I couldn't think of a better way to start Pride weekend than with your marriage,” City Attorney Dennis Herrera told Perry and Stier. “You really know how to do things with style.”
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the stay banning same-sex marriages late Friday afternoon, two days after the Supreme Court ruled the proponents of the voter-approved constitutional amendment had no standing to appeal a lower court decision. A 2010 decision deemed the amendment unconstitutional. That decision now stands.
“These are legitimate and legal marriages,” said California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who also officiated the couple's wedding. “This represents a moment in history and a celebration in the big fight for civil rights.”
Prop. 8 supporters, though, said it was too soon to lift the ban.
“The resumption of same-sex marriage this day has been obtained by illegitimate means,” said Andy Pugno, general counsel for a coalition of religious conservative groups that sponsored Proposition 8. “It remains to be seen whether the fight can go on, but either way, it is a disgraceful day for California.”
The mood in San Francisco, though, was all smiles and celebration.
Jeanne Marlow, 61, said she dropped everything at her office job in the Financial District so she could be a part of the celebration at City Hall.
“The news spread like wildfire and I said 'I have to be there,'” said Marlow, who married her partner during the brief window in 2008. “It's really a different world.”
Though the ceremony to make Perry and Stier's marriage official only lasted a few moments, the couple, who has been together 14 years, said the moment means everything.
“It's fantastic,” Stier said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.