With a simple sentence, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday afternoon lifted the stay on gay marriages in California, opening the way for same-sex weddings to resume.

Less than two hours later, shortly before 5 p.m., the first wedding occurred in San Francisco when Attorney General Kamala Harris performed the ceremony for Sandy Stier and Kris Perry, two of the plaintiffs in legal challenge that overturned the state's same-sex marriage ban.

After waiting for years to get married, the couple rushed from the their East Bay home to San Francisco City Hall after the brief court of appeals order.

"The stay in the above matter is dissolved effective immediately,'' the ruling reads.

Harris quickly tweeted: On my way to S.F. City Hall. Let the wedding bells ring!

Matt Dorsey, a spokesman for San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, said city officials were preparing to let couples marry right away.

Just minutes after the appeals court issued its order, Siter and Perry were standing in line at San Francisco City Hall to get a marriage license, the Associated Press reported. They planned to wed at 4:15 p.m., with Harris officiating, according to the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which brought the lawsuit.

"I am thrilled that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted its stay to allow same-sex couples to legally marry in California," Harris said. "Gay and lesbian couples have waited so long for this day and for their fundamental right to marry. Finally, their loving relationships are as legitimate and legal as any other."

The Associated Press reported Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo, the two other plaintiffs who successfully challenged Proposition 8 before the Supreme Court, will marry at 6:15 p.m. Friday at Los Angeles City Hall.

Proposition 8 supporters blasted the rush to issue same-sex wedding licenses, calling it a "disgraceful day for California." Attorney Andy Pugno, in a written statement, said the action deprives the Protect Marriage Coalition of their right to ask for a reconsideration of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that negated Proposition 8.

"This outrageous act tops off a chronic pattern of lawlessness, throughout this case, by judges and politicians hellbent on thwarting the vote of the people to redefine marriage by any means, even outright corruption," Pugno said.

"The resumption of same-sex marriage this day has been obtained by illegitimate means. If our opponents rejoice in achieving their goal in a dishonorable fashion, they should be ashamed."

The San Francisco City Clerk's Office said licenses would be issued until 8 p.m. Friday, and resume at 9 a.m. Saturday until 5 p.m. Sunday hours have yet to be determined.

Elsewhere in the Bay Area, clerk's offices were scrambling to react to the court of appeals order.

The Alameda County Clerk's office added one hour to its daily schedule for weddings, and ceremonies were allowed until 5 p.m., and marriage licenses issued for an additional half-hour.

At the end of the day, four licenses were issued, with two couples completing the ceremony.

"It caught us by surprise," said deputy clerk Matt Yankee. The office can't stay open later because no overtime was authorized for security staff, he said. And the office will not have special hours Saturday.

There was a very brief chance for couples to get a marriage license at the Santa Clara County Clerk-Recorder's Office on Friday, as county lawyers gave the greenlight around 4:10 p.m. -- scant minutes before the office closed at 4:30.

Clerk-Recorder Gina Alcomendras said they would have stayed open to accommodate any size line that made it there by then, but nobody did.

But Alcomendras said they expect a crowd when they open Monday at 8 a.m., and on Friday staffers were setting up a queue area reserved for those seeking a marriage license.

"We usually have three windows available, but will keep going up to 27 windows, each of with can issue a license," she said.

And while they could not have held ceremonies on Friday, starting Monday they will offer a "special express service."

"If the applicants want to get married right after they get the license, we will be able to do it right there, at the window," she said.

Alcomendras added that any member of the board of supervisors can perform a ceremony, and at a rally in front of San Jose City Hall after the Supreme Court decisions on Wednesday, supervisors Ken Yeager and Dave Cortese said they were looking forward to doing just that.

"Very soon the county building will be open for business," Yeager told a cheering crowd. "And we are ready."

The Contra Costa County clerk's office was also planning to close as usual at 4:30 p.m. No licenses were issued, and there will not be special hours over the weekend.

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Wednesday that the sponsors of California's voter-approved gay marriage ban lacked the authority to defend Proposition 8 in court once the governor and state attorney general refused to do so.

The decision lets stand a trial judge's declaration that the ban violates the civil rights of gay Californians and cannot be enforced.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.