Denise Penn is an advocacy journalist, editor and columnist who has been covering political and social issues for alternative and LGBT press since the early nineties. She is currently News Editor for The Lesbian News, Editor-in-Chief of Bi Magazine, and a frequent contributor to the Orange County and Long Beach BLADE, IN Los Angeles Magazine, and others.
Couples from Long Beach are lined up at the County Registrar's office to get their marriage licenses. A cheer goes up from the crowd every time another license is issued.
Some couples will tie the knot with a simple civil ceremony there at the county offices. Others will head down to the Belmont Pier at the foot of Termino Street to be married with the sound of waves and sand under their feet. Alan Katz will be performing ceremonies from 3 o'clock until 10.
Still others will head down to the Long Beach Center this evening to exchange vows surrounded by friends, family and the staff of the Center who have supported them over the years. Reverend Sunshine Daye, who has been serving the Namasté community since 2002 as a practitioner and now as the pioneer of the Path Finder Ministry will be officiating the individual weddings beginning at 3 pm.
Then at 7pm, The Center will have a large Mass Wedding and reception afterward, complete with a fountain of chocolate with fruit for dipping. "Just as freedom of speech and freedom of religion are fundamental rights, so is the right to marry," says Kimberlee Woods, Executive Director. "For many, they have waited a long time for this day to arrive and therefore feel much excitement and anticipation. It is a historic moment worthy of great celebration."