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SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: AROUND THE STATE / HOLLYWOOD DELL

Getting married, getting on with life

June 18, 2008|Molly Hennessy-Fiske

It was supposed to be a no-frills, no-fuss affair: Just a quick wedding and then get on with the day.

Trying to avoid crowds in West Hollywood, Bill Walker, 51, and Kelly Ziegler, 40, hit the Airport Courthouse to get their license. They brought their children -- Elizabeth, 7, and James, 2.

It was Walker's second same-sex marriage -- although the first was fictitious. Once a writer for the TV sitcom "Roseanne," he wrote what he said was the first gay wedding on TV. The show appeared in 1995, Walker said, "back when the idea of legally getting married I would never have believed would be possible."

The couple met nine years ago at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena. In 2001, when Elizabeth was baptized, they held a commitment ceremony at the church and exchanged wedding rings.

"We love each other and we want to stay together for the rest of our lives. And we think it's important for the children," said Walker, a writer-producer. "Elizabeth needs to be able to say her parents are married."

The men weren't planning a big celebration, but their neighbors in Hollywood Dell had other notions. A group who call themselves "the ladies of La Punta," after their street, baked a cake and decorated their house while Walker and Ziegler were at the clerk's office. They were laying plans for a party in the evening, complete with a wedding ceremony -- in which Elizabeth would be, in Walker's words, the "grooms' maid."

Walker said he and Ziegler had registered with Equality California, which is fighting a November ballot initiative that would undo gay marriage in the state. Party guests were to be given donation cards.

"That's all we want -- to be able to have a long, happy marriage," Walker said.

The newlyweds were pleased that they didn't have to wait forever at the courthouse.

"Now we have time to take Elizabeth for a mani-pedi," Walker said, "and plant the dichondra in the frontyard."

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske

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