Gay and lesbian couples rushed for marriage licenses across California on Tuesday, one day after the first legally recognized same-sex weddings in the state.
While a handful of symbolic same-sex marriages took place in Los Angeles and San Francisco late Monday, licenses were not widely available to most gays and lesbians anxious to tie the knot until the next day.
County courthouses and clerks offices throughout California began issuing licenses from 8 a.m., and in Los Angeles many soon-to-be newlyweds queued overnight to beat the crush.
"We thought it was important to be part of such an historic event," said Bonni Million, who began lining up in Los Angeles late Monday with her partner Chelsea Thompson. "It's a pretty monumental day. It's changing history."
Analysts estimate that around 51,000 of the 102,000 same-sex couples living in California will wed over the next three years, with a further 67,500 couples from outside the state expected to marry during the same period.
The first tidal wave of marriages on Tuesday came after joyous scenes in Los Angeles and San Francisco on Monday, where two campaigning lesbian couples moments after gay marriages became legal in California at 5:01 p.m.
Robin Tyler and Diane Olson, whose court battle led to the California Supreme Court's historic decision to overturn the state ban on same-sex marriage last month exchanged vows on the step of Beverly Hills Courthouse.
At the same time in San Francisco, Mayor Gavin Newsom officiated at the wedding of veteran campaigners Del Martin, 87, and Phyllis Lyon, 83, who exchanged vows after 56 years together.
Among those who obtained a marriage license on Tuesday were "Star Trek" star George Takei, who is planning to wed his long-time partner Brad Altman later this year.
Takei, 71, known to millions of fans as Mr Sulu, received his license in the Los Angeles district of West Hollywood, although the actor has said he does not plan to marry until September.
"I see before me people who personify love and commitment, people who are the personification of joy and celebration," Takei told a cheering crowd.
"Brad and I are going to get our marriage license today -- isn't that extraordinary? Isn't that wonderful? So congratulations to all of us and may equality live long and prosper," Takei said.
West Hollywood officials conducted a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 8:30 a.m. to mark the start of licenses being issued in the gay enclave.
West Hollywood officials have set up six flower-bedecked "marriage cabanas" near the city clerk's office, to allow couples to exchange vows within minutes of collecting their wedding licenses.
Opponents of same-sex marriage are seeking to force the issue back onto the agenda and have succeeded in adding a proposition to Nov 4 election ballot papers calling for gay weddings to be banned once more.
Jeff Flint of ProtectMarriage.com, a proponent of the California Marriage Protection Act, said the amendment would "protect and define" marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
"When you start to change the definition of marriage, as not between a man and a woman but any two adults, it undermines the institution," Flint said.
A smattering of placard-carrying protesters were in attendance at several locations issuing licenses.
Karen Wilson, 51, protested in Norwalk while waving a banner proclaiming: "Marriage should be held in honor."
"This is just one more step in the wrong direction," Wilson said, claiming that widespread homosexuality was a sign that the "last days" had arrived.© Wire reports