Nightly News   |  June 29, 2013

Gay marriage foes protest California wedding blitz

A federal appeals court cleared the way for same-sex marriages to begin in California. Opponents of gay marriage are crying foul, however. NBC’s Gabe Gutierrez reports.

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>>> a flurry of hastily pulled together wedding plans in california after a federal appeals court moved with surprising speed to remove the final obstacle to same-sex couples tying the knot. two days after the supreme court ruled california 's ban on same sex weddings was unconstitutional. long lines formed for marriage licenses , prop 8 supporters are asking the supreme court to once again halt same-sex weddings and reconsider. gabe gutierrez reports.

>> the paperwork while are you waiting.

>> reporter: today in san francisco , a wedding blitz.

>> i can't believe we're here.

>> karen and joreen have been together 36 years, among the hundreds of same-sex couples who lined up at city hall , after a federal appeals court friday lifted the freeze on gay marriage in california . weeks earlier than predicted.

>> oh, my gosh. i just never thought i would see it in my lifetime.

>> reporter: within hours of the surprise move, the four plaintiffs in the case that overturned the gay marriage ban, proposition 8 , tied the knot. one couple in san francisco .

>> i now declare you spouses for life.

>> reporter: the other in los angeles .

>> i don't know about you, but i've got goosebumps.

>> reporter: now a flurry of marriage licenses are expected in coming days, especially in san francisco . which is hosting its annual gay pride celebration this weekend. california is the 13th state , along with washington, d.c., to recognize same-sex marriages. setting the stage for possible legal challenges in the 37 states that don't.

>> i think the decisions of this week give us huge momentum. very excited by how this is going to help in the legal battles , but as well help in the public opinion.

>> god ordained marriage between one man and one woman.

>> reporter: opponents are promising a tough fight. prop 8 backers say california resumed same-sex marriage too soon, before they had the proper time to formally ask the supreme court to rehear the case.

>> we see this illegitimate and lawless. the ninth circuit had no jurisdiction to lift the stay.

>> reporter: many gay couples are scrambling to make wedding plans. for some, plans that had been on hold for 4 1/2 years. as you mentioned, lester, prop 8 supporters filed an emergency petition with the u.s. supreme court to stop marriages while the legal process plays out. legal experts say that is unlikely to happen, this fight is far from over, lester.

>> gabe, thank you.