Tie the same-sex knot - Page 2

The Queer Issue: Get married already, why don't you? A guide to quickie queer nuptials

But in practice, that depends on the number of people who have the same idea at the same time.

"The challenge is that there are so many couples trying to do this," Savant said, recalling the enormous crowd at City Hall in 2004 when Mayor Gavin Newsom first legalized same-sex marriage in San Francisco. "It's completely dependent on the crowd that has amassed."

Theoretically, a ceremony can be scheduled at City Hall 30 minutes after the license is issued, providing that appointments are available. Savant recommends that couples download the marriage license application from City Hall's Web site to save time waiting in line. "But don't sign it or else it's invalid," he advised. "The application needs to be signed on site."

The license is good for 90 days. And, you don't need a minister or notary; in California, a couple can have a friend or family member perform the ceremony, although the person must acquire a license from City Hall within 60 days of the ceremony.

If a couple decides to take the religious route, many churches and some synagogues are available, although most require some advance notice:

The First Congregational Church of San Francisco, United Church of Christ (1300 Polk, SF; 415-441-8901, www.sanfranciscoucc.org) has been performing same-sex ceremonies for more than 20 years, according to the Rev. Dr. Wilfred Glabach. The church can accommodate religious services with a minister on staff, or couples can have the minister sign their licenses. Couples are also welcome to hire their own officiant.

Swedenborgian Church (3200 Washington, SF; 415-346-6466, www.sfwedding.org) also offers services. Services will be free Wednesday, June 25 and Thursday, June 26.

The Metropolitan Community Church (415-863-4434) of San Francisco has been performing same-sex marriage ceremonies since 1971. The Rev. Lea Brown said that while they are unable to provide a place to hold weddings, they can provide clergy and music. Call for details.

For Jewish couples, Congregation Sherith Israel (415-346-1720) is available for members. And Congregation Sha'ar Zahav (290 Dolores, SF; 415-861-6932, www.shaarzahav.org) will perform ceremonies regardless of membership.

Additional churches conducting ceremonies for same-sex couples are First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco (1187 Franklin, SF; 415-776-4580, www.uusf.org); Interfaith Center at the Presidio (130 Fisher Loop, SF; 415-561-3930, www.interfaith-presidio.org); and Unity Christ Church (2960 Ocean Ave., SF; 415-566-4122, www.unitychristchurch.org).

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