California court rejects same-sex marriage ban revival

By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

SAN FRANCISCO- – There was no stopping 47-year old Norika San Pedro and
41-year old Michael Earl Clem from declaring their vows of love and
fidelity to each other yesterday. While this same-sex couple got married at
the San Francisco City Hall in front of friends and family, the California
Supreme Court was tossing out a legal challenge by supporter of Proposition
8, a ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage that banned same-sex
marriage. The justices refused to halt same-sex marriages in the state and
this newly-married couple could not be any happier.

“Getting married for me is like having your best friend for the rest of
your life. It’s a lifetime commitment,” said Norika.

Norika is a transgender who is still legally considered male. But Michael,
who considers himself straight, knew he was destined to marry her.

“She’s my everything. She’s my oxygen,” he said.

Norika was born Leonilo San Pedro in Bulacan. She said she always she knew
she was gay, even as a young boy. She transitioned into a transgender when
she began working as an entertainer in Japan in 1994.

She moved to the U.S. in 2008 on a tourist visa…a visa that has since
expired.

Because the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down by the U.S. Supreme
Court in June, same-sex couples are now afforded the same federal benefits,
including immigration benefits.

Michael is in the process of filing a petition for Norika, who has been an
undocumented immigrant for five years.

“I want Norika to be around me forever. I want her by my side. It’s
important for her to have the same rights as other citizens,” said Michael.

“It’s a dream come true. I’m happy that I’m going to be with him forever,”
Norika added.

Since the Supreme Court’s rulings on DOMA and Prop 8, more Americans now
want the nation’s lawmakers to go even further. A recent survey the the
Gallup Politics poll shows that 52% of respondents would support a law that
would legalize same-sex marriage across all 50 states.

And for those who still oppose their union, Norika has this to say: “Let’s
live in peace. We’re not harming anyone. We just want to be happy.”

There are no more legal actions pending on same-sex marriage. California
now joins 12 other states and the District of Columbia recognizing unions
among LGBT couples.

2 Comments on this post.

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  • jorge buesa
    15 August 2013 at 11:28 pm - Reply

    Nonika has this to say, Let’s live in peace. We’re not harming anyone. We just want to be happy. It’s ok with me, But The Health Risks Of Gay Sexual Relationship between members of the same sex expose gays, lesbians to extreme risks of sexually trasmitted diseases (STDs), physical injuries, mental disorders and even a shortened life span.

    • Michelle Conklin
      16 August 2013 at 5:52 am - Reply

      We are so happy for you Clem and Norika! Congratulations to you both–here’s to a happy life together!

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