“It was delightful and I was honored to do it, and I’m glad we now have the ability under California law to do that,” Foster said.
The ceremony was held as hundreds of gay couples fanned across Los Angeles County for same-sex weddings, following the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals' decision to lift the stay on same-sex marriages. The court’s action followed the Supreme Court’s ruling on Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act last week.
Standing before family, friends and supporters Monday afternoon, Bob Crow, 68, co-founder of Long Beach Gay and Lesbian Inc., and his longtime partner, Tony Almeida, 46, stood together and made their vows at the Harvey Milk Equality Plaza.
Both Crow and the mayor helped break ground on the new park more than a month ago. The plaza, in downtown Long Beach, is believed to be the first in the country to be named after the civil rights leader. It also includes a concrete replica of the soapbox on which Milk, a San Francisco gay-rights activist who was slain in 1978, stood when he gave speeches to crowds.
As motorists slowed to look as the ceremony proceeded, dozens of onlookers clapped and cheered as Crow and Almeida sealed the deal with a kiss.
“This is a long time coming,” Crow said. “I never thought it would happen.”
Crow said he and Almeida have been together 18 years and had talked with Foster about the possibility of his performing the ceremony.
Nearby, Almeida hugged a young woman who was congratulating him: “I’m a married man now,” he said with joy.
The newlyweds plan to travel to Mexico to celebrate.
Anna Rubin 41, administrative director at Long Beach Gay and Lesbian Pride Inc., smiled as she watched the couple pose for photographs.
“It’s a pleasure to be out here and to witness him getting married to his longtime partner, Tony. I think it’s great for him and for the community,” Rubin said. “I’m sure this will be the first of many marriages to come in Long Beach.”