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Palm Springs City Hall hosts first gay wedding since ban lifted

July 1st, 2013 | by Will Dean | Comments
Jim Eastin (left) and Allan Murdock (right) of Whitewater are married July 1 at Palm Springs City Hall, the first gay couple Mayor Steve Pougnet has married this time around. Photo by Will Dean

Jim Eastin (left) and Allan Murdock (right) of Whitewater are married July 1 at Palm Springs City Hall, the first gay couple Mayor Steve Pougnet has married this time around. Photo by Will Dean

After 43 years of commitment, Jim Eastin and Allan Murdock made it legal Monday (July 1). They were married in a civil ceremony at Palm Springs City Hall – Mayor Steve Pougnet’s first same-sex marriage since the U.S. 9th Circuit Court gave the OK on Friday (June 28) for gay Californians to wed again.

Wearing Hawaiian shirts and shorts, the Whitewater couple said the vows, exchanged rings and sealed it with a kiss in City Council chambers with a witness and a couple of friends present. Murdock, 83, got emotional during the ceremony when Pougnet asked them to hold hands as they faced one another.

“It’s done, and I’m very happy,” Murdock said afterward. “It’s a culmination of something we wanted all of our life that’s right, and we truly love one another.

“And I don’t think we’re going to destroy anyone’s marriage,” Murdock added, a reference to those who said legalizing gay marriage would damage marriage for heterosexual couples.

MORE PHOTOS: See more photos from their wedding here

Murdock and Eastin, 74, were among the first couples applying for a marriage license first thing Monday (July 1) outside the Riverside County Clerk’s Office in Indio. The plan when they approached Pougnet in May about marrying them was to do it as soon as possible when it became legal again.

James Eastin, 74, (left) and Allan Murdock, 83, (right) are married in council chambers by Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet on Monday. (Crystal Chatham/The Desert Sun)

James Eastin, 74, (left) and Allan Murdock, 83, (right) are married in council chambers by Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet on Monday. (Crystal Chatham/The Desert Sun)

It was an honor to witness their union – my first time – as they declared their love and commitment to one another, especially considering all they’ve been through and what they mean to one another.

Because they’ve been together for decades, the impact of the ceremony hit Eastin unexpectedly. “You realize you’re in front of all these people,” he said. “It’s emotional because you’re saying I’m giving my life to you as you’re giving your life to me—therefore we’re one. Now we’re legal. We’re no longer second-class citizens.”

Pougnet said no matter how long a couple has been together, or trying to be casual about it, most couples get emotional during the ceremony.

“Straight or gay, when they look into each other’s eyes, when they do the vows, it’s incredibly moving,” Pougnet said. “How can you deny it?”

Congratulations, newlyweds!

Read more about them and see the video of the wedding Tuesday (July 2) on mydesert.com.

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