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Same-sex couples get marriage licenses in Santa Barbara County

Monday marks the first day same-sex couples can once again receive a marriage license in Santa Barbara County.

Last week the Supreme Court cleared the way by sending Prop 8, the ban on same-sex marriage in California, back to a lower courts ruling. That allows Santa Barbara and the 57 other counties in the Golden State to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

The doors to the Santa Barbara County Clerk-Recorders office opened at 8 a.m. and as soon as they did, same-sex couples were in line to receive licenses.

“We had butterflies when we were coming in and we just couldn’t believe it,” said Belinda Salazar, who has been with her partner for 30 years. “Glad it’s done and we have our marriage license and now it’s time for a ceremony.”

Salazar and partner, Carolyn Nielsen, jokingly say it’s been a long engagement. But it wasn’t only those who had been together decades signing on the dotted line. Laura McElhinney and Amanda Wilkinson have been together four years. For them a marriage license is exciting.

“It’s unreal,” McElhinney said. “I’m nervous and it hasn’t quite hit me yet but it’s great.”

The Santa Barbara County Clerk-Recorders Office says it will be open and ready for all couples who wish to receive a license or tie the knot.

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