PHOTO COURTESY MICHELLE WHARTON
Michelle Wharton and Ricci Treffer of Makawao will get
married in San Francisco on Saturday.
Maui couple in rush to celebrate nuptials
The two women see the benefits of being married, which now is legal in California
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KAPAA, Kauai » Ricci Treffer and Michelle Wharton, a Maui couple, will fly tonight to San Francisco and get married in front of about 50 family members and friends in Golden Gate Park on Saturday.
What makes this special - besides Treffer being six months pregnant - is that the two of them are women.
The two are taking advantage of the California Supreme Court ruling that, starting yesterday, allows same-sex couples to wed.
They put together a ceremony and a reception in just three weeks because the opportunity to marry could be eliminated by a November vote to define marriage as being between a man and a woman. Also, Treffer would be unable to fly after two weeks.
"Everything worked out perfectly," Wharton said.
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KAPAA, Kauai » Michelle Wharton and Ricci Treffer of Makawao, Maui, will be among hundreds of same-sex couples getting wed in California this week, taking advantage of a California Supreme Court ruling last month that allows same-sex couples to marry.
After the May 15 ruling, Wharton, who is originally from the Bay Area, and Treffer put together wedding plans in just three weeks.
"We have to do it now because (Treffer) is six months pregnant, and she can only fly for a couple more weeks," Wharton said.
And with the possibility that California voters could overturn the ruling in November, the time is now. So the Makawao couple will celebrate their love for each other with friends and family members from as far away as Germany in Golden Gate Park on Saturday.
It is something heterosexual couples take for granted, Wharton said yesterday.
According to Wharton, when a man and woman get married, a number of federal and state benefits -- such as Social Security benefits, immigration status, adoption rules, even the ability to enter an emergency room after an accident as an immediate family member -- are transferred.
It is not so with same-sex couples.
Just for Wharton to adopt Treffer's boy, who is due at the end of September, will take $3,000 in legal fees and perhaps another year.
"We just want what everyone else wants," she added. "We want to be a family."
While those rights will not be available in Hawaii, both said they are hoping the marriage will be acknowledged here one day. And they are hoping it will help in the adoption process.
And if they do move back to her hometown of San Francisco, Wharton, a fitness instructor and massage therapist, said they will be a married couple in California.
"We probably wouldn't have done it if it didn't mean anything legally," she added, but "it's a statement of hope that this is the first step."
Treffer said it also means a lot emotionally and that the day will be a special one.
"We've been waiting for eight years," said Treffer, a sales agent at the Marriott's Maui Ocean Club. "We've always known we wanted to be together."
The couple is excited to see numerous family and friends. Treffer's mother and sister are flying in from Germany, and a number of close friends are flying in from the East Coast.
The reception is scheduled for a friend's back yard. With the short notice, friends have stepped up to help the couple get their perfect day.
"It's amazing," Treffer said. "It's fun."
She added that the wedding day is not to make a political statement, and the ceremony and reception will be like many others.
Still, there is the hope that all marriages will be equal one day.
"It doesn't come with rights now, but it could down the line," Treffer added. "Why should I not have the same rights just because of the person I love?"