As usual, hundreds turned out to witness or participate in San Antonio's free mass wedding on the old Bexar County Courthouse steps.

The first of several ceremonies on Valentine's Day was held at midnight, with more ceremonies scheduled later Monday.

But, this year's midnight ceremony was notably different as almost two dozen same-sex couples took part in the event.

Straights can have an opportunity to get married, said a lesbian activist named Chris. Why can't we?

The group marched from a restaurant in the 1400 block of North Main with the children of Angela and Belina Barrett carrying the Gay Pride Rainbow Flag.

We pay our taxes like everybody else, said an activist named Crystal. We should have the right to be married.

But the law saysthey do not.

Only five states (and the District of Columbia) allow same-sex marriage. Texas is not one of them.

We can not get married in Texas, march organizer Julie Posson said. That needs to change. We are full citizens.

It was a first for the grassroots movement. They quietly filed in with almost 150 couples who had marriage licenses. All of them listened as Joe Sullivan, an ordained minister and Valentine's Day officiator of many years, gave instruction as well as advice.

The ceremony had ended and the same-sex couples had exchanged rings, vows and kisses before Sullivan was made aware his crowd of newlyweds was different this time.

They don't have a license, Sullivan said. If they took vows, it really means nothing.

But the same-sex couples said they walked away feeling just like they were married anyway.

The thought of gay and lesbian couples in the event did not seem to bother some of the participants.

In this day and age -- whatever it is --- I know my religion and faith in God, newlywed Mark Aguilar said.

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