COURTESY RICCI TREFFER
Maui residents Ricci Treffer, left, and Michelle Wharton exchanged vows last week at their wedding at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.
Maui couple makes their marriage legal
>> Same-sex wedding windfall
>> Momentum gaining for same-sex marriage
Maui residents Ricci Treffer and Michelle Wharton are now "wife and wife" after getting married in California last week.
The San Francisco sky cleared up at noon, revealing a rare, sunny Saturday in the city, and beautiful, blue skies. Treffer and Wharton were surrounded by about 50 family members and friends at Golden Gate Park as they recited their vows of marriage to one another.
"It was so wonderful," Treffer told the Star-Bulletin. "Everything worked out perfectly."
The reception was held in a friend's backyard, and guests flew in from all corners of the world -- even with just three week's notice.
Though their marriage was legal in the state of California, it is not legal here in Hawaii, where the couple lives and works full time in Makawao, Maui. Nor will it be recognized at the federal level.
Among some of the benefits of a legal marriage are immigration status, adoption rules, and the right to enter an emergency room after an accident as an immediate family member.
Hawaii offers some limited legal benefits for couples in a reciprocal beneficiary relationship, but not to the same extent as in a legal marriage.
But Treffer said she and Wharton still believe that they took an important step, and that it might hold some weight later. They intend to continue living on Maui.
Treffer is expecting a baby boy, and Wharton is going through the process of adopting him, which is up to a judge to decide.
"For all intents and purposes, we were married," Treffer said. "Between the two of us, we already knew we wanted to be together and share a life. We own our home together and we're having a child together."
But the pair never decided to hold a commitment ceremony because it just wasn't the same as a legalized one.
"It has a whole different meaning," said Treffer.
In order to be issued a marriage license, however, the ceremony had to take place in California.
The couple still brought Hawaii with them -- they brought gifts and champagne from Maui for their guests. The late Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" was playing as they walked down the aisle, and a lei exchange and Hawaiian blessing were part of the ceremony.
Their wedding rings also were purchased here.
But the rest of the expenses -- for the wedding cake, flowers, caterers, photographer, hotel, hairdresser, officiant and rehearsal dinner -- were all spent in San Francisco.
"Hopefully things will change here, so that our son grows up in a world where he knows he's accepted as part of the family and ohana here," said Treffer.