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Yolo County Famous 2008 Marriage

Shelly Bailes and Ellen Pontac share how they become Yolo counties first same sex couple to marry.

Submitted by Shelly Bailes and Ellen Pontac; 10/2008

This story relates to the past, present.

Categories: Celebrations, Famous People, New Beginnings, Romance, Unforgettable Experiences.


We moved to Davis with our children because we thought it would be a great place to be a kid.  We were right.  Although we moved here for our kids, we stayed here for ourselves.


On May 15, 2008, when the California Supreme Court announced its decision that we could legally marry, we felt embraced by our hometown in a way unimaginable in many other localities. We were the recipients of constant congratulations and hugs wherever we went.

County recorder Freddie Oakley officiated at our wedding. We invited about a dozen friends and family.  We hadn't really counted on the 40 members of the media who showed up.  We should have realized what a big deal it was...marrying at the first possible moment one could in the state of California, but we were just excited to be getting married.  After all, we had been engaged 34 years.  After the ceremony, Freddie had a reception with a cake for all the couples that would be married that day.  But we had something not every wedding has----a protester!  He crashed the reception yelling that our wedding was illegal.  He was escorted out as we kissed and the champagne was opened.


The following week we had a reception at The Vets. We invited the entire town of Davis.  We jokingly said that we really hoped all 60,000 wouldn't show up, but we would have been happy if they had.  As it was, we had over 500 folks there.  I have never seen anything like it in Davis, the town "where no issue is too small for public debate."  Imagine: The Vets full of Davisites and not one person disagreeing with another!  So many people had shared their joy with us that we wanted to let everyone in town share that happiness together. Everyone was dancing, eating drinking, laughing.  We've enjoyed so many events in Davis over the last 27 years but this is the one that will always make us smile.


This site provided with the assistance of the Davis Community Network.