Let Them Eat (a Gay Wedding) Cake: Gay Activists Get Their Valentine's Day on at Orange County Courthouse

Linda May said it took her a long time to bake the "domestic partnership" cake she displayed Tuesday outside the Orange County Courthouse at 211 W. Santa Ana Blvd. in downtown Santa Ana.

She said the cake is symbolic of the gay community's efforts to overturn laws against same-sex marriage. 

"There are a lot of metaphors here," May, 62, said of the lemon and coconut cake topped with two doves. "It's a lot harder than I thought it would be. One of the things I discovered is icing covers up a lot of flaws."

May and other members of the Orange County Equality Coalition celebrated Valentine's Day by heading to the red sandstone courthouse -- where heterosexual brides snapped photos with their new hubbies -- to request marriage licenses and speak against Proposition 8,  the state's limit of marriage to one man and one woman, which was approved by voters in 2008.

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals last week ruled 2-1 that Proposition 8 violates equal protection rights under the U.S. Constitution. Still, same-sex marriages will not be legal until an appeal of the court's decision is resolved, with the matter likely winding up at the U.S. Supreme Court

"I'm a little more optimistic that we might get gay marriage this year..." May said.  "I hope they lift the stay."

She spoke with curious passersby who stopped to look at the cake, which sat on a table next to an American flag, and the rainbow flag of the gay pride movement.

May talks to Masciana, as Lee looks on
Arnie Masciana and his fiance visited the courthouse to watch couples celebrate their weddings on Valentine's Day. The 63-year-old salesman from Costa Mesa said he's never been a supporter of gay marriage, but May's presentation helped him reconsider.

"I think domestic partnerships should be the same across the board for everybody," he said.

Dana Lee, a 22-year-old Huntington Beach resident and volunteer for the coalition, said she wants the opportunity to be married and have all the responsibilities that come with it.  

"A lot of the rights are there [in domestic partnerships], it's just the social aspect of marriage is different," Lee said. "No one wants to go to a domestic partnership ceremony. It doesn't have the same ring to it."

Dave Hoen, a 61-year-old resident of Santa Ana, has been wedded to his husband twice -- once in San Francisco in 2004,  which was nullified by the California Supreme Court, and again on Election Day in 2008.  The couple has been together for more than 20 years.

"It's about companionship," Hoen said. "People sometimes always go to the sex thing. It has nothing to do with sex."

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