They traveled from 45 states and eight foreign countries. However, the overwhelming majority of the 4,037 same-sex couples who obtained marriage licenses in San Francisco before the California supreme court shut down the city's gay wedding march didn't need to cross state lines, according to an analysis released on Wednesday. The research by county assessor Mabel Teng's office also showed that 91.4% of the couples came from California. "It confirms to us that California benefited the most from the service we provided," said Teng, who personally officiated at the nuptials of more than 300 couples and whose office records marriages. Eighty-two couples who took out licenses either chose not to go through with their weddings or did not return to City Hall in time to register their licenses, a critical final step, Teng said. That brings the total number of known couples who completed the process before the court intervened down to 3,955.
The analysis was based on the limited biographical information couples provided when they applied for their marriage licenses. One of the more interesting findings was that more lesbians tied the knot than gay men; of the 4,037 licenses issued, 2,311, or 57%, were granted to women, authorities concluded by reviewing the first names of the applicants. While the vast majority, or 3,690, of the same-sex couples who obtained licenses in San Francisco were California residents, people from Washington State and Oregon, which each sent 32 couples to San Francisco, were the next most-represented among those who sought to get married after the city began issuing licenses to same-sex couples on February 12. The states of Nevada, New York, and Florida, respectively, had 24, 20, and 16 couples who got hitched before the high court handed down its injunction on March 11. Couples from Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, and Thailand accounted for the 17 licenses requested by residents of foreign nations.
More than half of the brides and grooms, or 55.4%, were between the ages of 36 and 50, while 25.8% were in the 18-35 age group, and another 17.4% were in the 51-65 age group. During the four weeks San Francisco officials spent challenging California's ban on same-sex marriage by actively sanctioning such unions, 103 opposite-sex couples also received marriage licenses, county clerk Nancy Alfaro said. At least 3,300 same-sex couples had booked appointments for marriage licenses that had to be canceled after the court ordered San Francisco to stop. The couples were all notified by e-mail or telephone that they would have to book another slot if and when officials get the green light to resume; justices have said they will hold a hearing in May or June on whether the mayor had the authority to issue his directive in contravention of state law.