Kelli Carpenter O'Donnell on '2020'

ByABC News
March 11, 2004, 11:13 AM

March 11 -- When same-sex partners began lining up demanding the right to marry in San Francisco last month, Kelli and Rosie O'Donnell joined in.

Watch Barbara Walters' full report Friday on 20/20 at 10 p.m.

So what is it like to be with arguably the most famous lesbian in the world?

"Well, I have to say that in the beginning when I met her, I felt like my life had been thrown into some weird tornado," Kelli Carpenter O'Donnell told Barbara Walters. "And all of a sudden this life walks in, and it is a big life. And it was overwhelming but I'm crazy about her. So I feel like that's the reward I get."

And she proclaimed that love at San Francisco's City Hall last month when the pair joined the more than 4000 gay and lesbian couples to visit the California city so far in the battle for same-sex marriage. In turn, opponents have fired back, including President Bush who called for a constitutional amendment banning the practice.

Two days later Rosie, 41, and her longtime partner Kelli, 36, defiantly answered the president.

"I think it created more of a sense of immediacy to get it done," Kelli

told Barbara Walters. "I felt angry, and I felt like we needed to take a stand."

Even before the wedding, they were together for six years, and are raising a family in the New York suburbs and had been waiting for the legalization of same-sex marriage to take the plunge.

Wedding Memories

For Kelli, the trip down the aisle was a far cry from her Louisiana

upbringing with a conservative family who were in denial about her

sexual preference until recently.

Her wedding drew headlines and supporters while giving the pair peace of mind. "And even though I had always felt that inside my soul, to hear it validated by society, even though there are some people who are upset about it it meant everything to me," said Rosie.