Fresno County Clerk denies licenses on Valentine's Day

  • Parent Category: News
  • Published: Tuesday, 15 February 2005 16:00
  • Written by Baltimore Gonzalez

Three gay couples requested marriage licenses on Valentine's Day at the County Clerk's office.

Couples included Baltimore Gonzalez & Robert Flanagan, Co-Chapters leaders, Marriage Equality California, Fresno Chapter.  Jason Scott & Randy gray,, and Larry Marshall with partner Larry Norton.  Walking towards the Clerk's office, we had never seen so much media in our lives.  We were greeted by Channel 24 who immediately strapped a microphone onto my belt and through my brand new shirt that I wore proudly to request a marriage license.  Walking into the clerk's office, we were followed by approxiamately 6 news crews, radio news, police officers, and other couples wanting to validate their love in the laws eyes with the 1, 138 Federal rights that are granted to a heterosexual couple.  Robert and I simply said "we'd like to apply for a marriage license," as I held his hand so tight we were sweating in nervousness.  The clerk explained to us that California law did not allow same sex couples to marry and quoted a "code".  I asked her for a copy and she obliged, which coincidentally the "code" was printed off of the internet the day after I sent an e-mail out inviting everyone to meet us out there.  A spy?  hmmmmm.  The next couple was Jason and Randy who were greeted with "the same applies to you."  Jason simply replied, "we'd like to be denied seperately please."  Again she obliged.  As firefighters were given a 1 day permit to perform ceremonies, the waiting room was filled with couples ready to exchange vows.  I'm not sure everyone quite knew what was going on.  Within minutes, many officers showed up and stood around until we left.  With the exception of one biggot who passed by and yelled "faggots" as he accelerated his gas pedal, everyone else seemed very friendly and cordial towards us.  Robert and I were married on March 11, 2004 in San Francisco and I can tell you that being denied a marriage license was a horrific feeling.  Many people said, "but Baltimore, you knew they were going to say no."  That's exactly why it hurt so much!  There was a beautiful pregnant bride in front of us who seemed so proud to be marrying the love of her life.  I congratulated them.  Many people came out to see what all the paparazzi was doing there and just watched.  They seemed amazed that this was happening in Fresno, California.  We then went and enjoyed an awesome lunch at Irene's in the Tower District.  I felt this need to be around people I knew were safe.  Hope fully within the next couple of weeks, we will have the great news that same-sex marriages will be legal as they are now in New York.  We are in need of donations for the Fresno Chapter.  Donations can be sent to P.O. Box 278, Clovis, Ca 93613.  Robert and I may have lost the validity to our marriages, however March 11 will forever be the day that we exchanged vows and will celebrate our 1st Anniversary married and our third anniversary together.  To all the other couples out there who will be celebrating their anniversaries as well, we wish you the best and congratulations!  It will be nice to see that all of this hard work and emotional stress was not in vain. 
In Love and Marriage,  Baltimore Gonzalez-Flanagan