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Gay Couples at Pomona Applaud California Marriage Ruling

“My first reaction was a mix of shock and amazement,” says Kenneth Pflueger, who has served as executive director of Pomona’s Information Technologies Services (ITS) for the past seven years. “My partner and I never thought it would be legalized.”

“It,” in this context, is gay marriage. The California Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn the state’s ban on gay marriage has been a long-awaited blessing for members of Pomona’s gay community. Pflueger and his partner Sig Schwarz, an English professor at Cal-Lutheran, have been in a committed relationship for 25 years and received their official marriage license just last week. Their wedding ceremony will take place in August at the Cal Lutheran campus chapel where the pair first met and will be attended by close family and friends. “We’re playing it small,” Pflueger says.

English Professor Arden Reed was particularly delighted by the ruling for the concreteness of the decision’s language. “It left no room for ambiguity,” he says. While he has no immediate future plans to get married to his partner, he said that he “certainly likes the idea of having the option of public and legal recognition of a relationship that we’ve had for 25 years.”

For Pflueger, getting married was less about the legal differences—benefits for domestic partnerships in California are nearly equivalent to those for marriage—than the symbolism of the decision. For example, he still has to fill out the bubble marked “single” on official forms. “It sends a subtle message that [a domestic partnership] is different,” he says.

Of course, the overturn on the ban hardly marks the end of the court battle. Reed cautions that the looming referendum to reinstate the marriage ban during the elections in November is an issue of concern, and is hopeful that citizens who support gay rights will actively campaign to reject the referendum. “I think the more people who know gay people who have gotten married,” he says, “the more comfortable they will become with it.”--Adam Conner-Simons ‘08