Next month, this yard will be the setting as the Mountain View couple exchanges vows. Plans for the ceremony were made soon after the California Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage on May 16.
The couple will marry on Aug. 1, their 27th anniversary, during a ceremony with a close group of family members and officiated by Supervisor Ken Yeager, the first openly gay elected official in Santa Clara County. They join thousands of gay couples exchanging vows following the ruling, which held that a same-sex marriage ban violated the state Constitution's equal protection guarantee.
"I wasn't planning on getting married, but now it's an option," Hobbs said.
California residents will vote on a constitutional amendment in November to ban same-sex marriage.
Mountain View played a special role in the ruling since two of the plaintiffs, Art Adams and Devin Baker, are former Mountain View residents and were active in the gay community here. After the ruling they celebrated with their friends Tom Ammon and Gary Lawson, also Mountain View residents, who are tying the knot this Monday in Arroyo Grande — 28 years after they first moved in together.
Ammon and Lawson, both 56, live near Huff Elementary School, and have helped raise four foster children. They tried to get married in 2004, when San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom briefly legalized same-sex marriage, but this time they know the state is behind them.
As for Carney, 50, and Hobbs, 55, they wore rings on their fingers long before the ruling. Both couples are classified as domestic partners, meaning they receive many of the same rights that married heterosexual couples do, including visitation rights in the hospital.
But the new ruling grants "fundamental rights," Hobbs said.
"It is for real. You are a first-class citizen," Carney said. "Separate is not equal," he added, saying domestic partnership unfairly distinguished his relationship from those of straight couples.
The two say they intend to speak out on the issue, at least until November when California votes on the same-sex marriage ban. Instead of asking for presents, they requests that friends and family make donations to the Equality for All campaign, a coalition working to defeat the November initiative.
"We already have a toaster," Hobbs said.
Both couples are involved with Outlet, a subgroup of the Community Health Awareness Council for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.
"We are not political activists, but it helps to put a face on things," Hobbs said. "We can be the face for our neighborhood."
Lawson said that even "living our lives the way we do" is a political act.
"Wearing wedding bands and telling people, 'I am married, and my husband's name is ...' that is political."
Still, Lawson and Ammon said the Bay Area is different from most the country on the issue of gay marriage.
"The Bay Area is a bubble," Lawson said. "We just got back from Kentucky, so we were reminded how life could be."