Rosie O'Donnell ties the knot in San Francisco. She and her partner wed Thursday, a day before California's attorney general files a suit that may end the city's gay nuptials

By Gary Susman
Updated February 26, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST

Rosie O’Donnell wanted to get married, while she still can. She and longtime partner Kelli Carpenter flew from New York to San Francisco on Thursday, where they picked up a marriage license and tied the knot at City Hall. About 3,300 same-sex couples have gotten married in the city since Mayor Gavin Newsom began allowing gay nuptials there two weeks ago, and while there’s a waiting list at City Hall stretching into April, O’Donnell was apparently able to pull rank as a celebrity to jump to the front of the line. According to the Associated Press, the comedian wore a powder blue blazer and carried a bouquet of purple and yellow flowers as she and Carpenter left the civil ceremony, while the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus serenaded them with ”Going to the Chapel.”

The nuptials took place two days after President George W. Bush endorsed a Constitutional amendment preventing states from recognizing gay marriages, and one day before California’s attorney general was to file a lawsuit that could end the current rush down the aisle in San Francisco. Before leaving New York on Thursday, O’Donnell appeared on ABC’s ”Good Morning America,” where she said the president’s action had prompted her imminent nuptials. ”I think the actions of the president are, in my opinion, the most vile and hateful words ever spoken by a sitting president,” she said.

She added that her recent courtroom dispute with the former publisher of Rosie magazine proved to her that gay couples don’t enjoy many rights and protections that married straight couples might take for granted. ”We applied for spousal privilege and were denied it by the state. As a result, everything that I said to Kelli, every letter that I wrote her, every e-mail, every correspondence and conversation was entered into the record,” O’Donnell said. ”After the trial, I am now and will forever be a total proponent of gay marriage.”