Issue:  Vol. 47 / No. 42 / 19 October 2017
 

Kennedy denies motion to halt same-sex marriage

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has denied a request from the proponents of Proposition 8 to halt the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

According to the Associated Press, Kennedy declined the request without comment Sunday, June 30. The news was released just as hundreds of thousands of people began celebrating at the 42nd annual LGBT Pride Parade in San Francisco.

(Prop 8 couples Jeff Zarrillo and Paul Katami and Kristin Perry and Sandy Steir flank City Attorney Dennis Herrera at Sunday's Alice breakfast.)

(Prop 8 couples Jeff Zarrillo and Paul Katami and Kristin Perry and Sandy Steir flank City Attorney Dennis Herrera at Sunday’s Alice breakfast.)

Prop 8 proponents had filed their request to stop the marriages Saturday, saying the 9th U.S. Court of Appeals had acted too soon in lifting the stay of a lower court ruling that declared Prop 8 unconstitutional. Normally, the 9th Circuit would have lifted the stay about 25 days after the Supreme Court decision, but the appellate court lifted the stay Friday afternoon, surprising just about everyone. Shortly afterwards, the two plaintiff couples in the Prop 8 case were married.

Plaintiffs Kristin Perry and Sandy Stier were married Friday at San Francisco City Hall by state Attorney General Kamala Harris. The other couple in the case, Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo, from Los Angeles, were married that evening by outgoing LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Same-sex marriages are expected to begin throughout the state Monday, July 1. San Francisco City Hall remained open over the weekend.

At Sunday’s Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club’s annual Pride breakfast, a packed house heard from the Prop 8 plaintiff couples.

Katami told the crowd that on Friday, as he and Zarrillo waited for their marriage license, the county clerk kept shaking his head. Soon enough, the clerk was taking a call from Harris, from San Francisco where she was about to marry Perry and Stier.

“Our attorney general was on the phone with him,” Katami said.

— Cynthia Laird, June 30, 2013 @ 11:12 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Same-sex couples begin marrying at San Francisco City Hall

weddingsAs word began to circulate Friday afternoon that same-sex marriages had begun again in California, the first set of couples began arriving at the clerk’s office in San Francisco City Hall.

The first wedding was that of Berkeley couple Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, one of two couples who were part of the lawsuit, named after Perry and known as Hollingsworth v. Perry, that struck down the state’s ban against same-sex marriage.

At 4:15 p.m. they had picked up their marriage license, and by 4:55 p.m. state Attorney General Kamala Harris, who officiated the wedding on the mayor’s balcony in the Rotunda, had declared them spouses for life. Within seconds across City Hall at the lightwell at the top of the grand staircase a female couple from Georgia were the second to marry.

The first male couple to say “I do” were Bobby Meadows, 40, and Craig Stein, 39, from San Francisco. They had been engaged for two and a half years, having agreed to marry back in 2010 when a federal district court judge initially found the ban, known as Proposition 8, to be unconstitutional.

“We had called the clerk’s office and had made an appointment back then to get married,” said Stein.

But the judge imposed a stay on his ruling, so the men have been waiting ever since for the day they could exchange their vows. They headed down to City Hall, wedding rings in hand, as soon as they heard the marriages had resumed.

“We thought we would come down and check it out. There was no one here so we decided to do it,” said Stein.

They are planning to have a big ceremony sometime next year with family and friends to celebrate.

“It sounds kind of funny, but we don’t want to rush that,” said Stein. “We weren’t going to talk about it until we could get married. We will probably wait till next year to give us some time to do it right.”

Perry and Stier had a private wedding ceremony with family and friends on August 1, 2004 after their first exchange of wedding vows in February of that year was later annulled by the state Supreme Court. Due to that experience, they opted not to marry again during the summer and fall of 2008 when same-sex couples had a four-month window to legally wed.

During an interview with the Bay Area Reporter Thursday night, the women said they planned to have their civil marriage as soon as possible and were unsure when that would be. They awoke Friday morning and went to work, thinking the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals would wait until late July to lift the stay on the lower court’s ruling.

When they heard the court had decided to allow the weddings to occur immediately, they scrambled to City Hall with their son Elliot, who served as the ring bearer. Their three other sons were in New York, San Diego and North Carolina.

“Fortunately, they all look alike so we told Elliot he has to represent them all,” joked Stier. “We will have a big celebration when they will be able to be together and we will dance the night away.”

Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin, who launched the American Foundation for Equal Rights in 2008 in order to bring forward the legal challenge to Prop 8, told a scrum of media gathered to witness the historic events that, “Today, we are all more American.”

Griffin added, “Marriage has returned to the great state of California. No one can take that away. No judge, no election. No one.”

He was already in San Francisco to attend the city’s annual Pride parade in which Perry and Stier and a number of AFER staffers will march Sunday. AFER and the San Francisco City Attorney’s office had planned a press conference on Saturday to discuss the marriage rulings with the local media and were caught off guard by the appellate court’s decision to lift the stay.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera, whose office has litigated the fight for marriage rights on behalf of same-sex couples since 2004, had already left City Hall for the day and had to scramble back in order to make it in time to witness Perry and Stier’s marriage.

“Who could think of a better lead-in to Pride weekend than to celebrate your marriage,” Herrera said during a press conference following the couple’s ceremony.

leno weddingGay state Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), center in the photo at right, was meeting with constituents in his district office in the State Building next to City Hall when he learned the news and rushed over for the wedding.

“I didn’t know what couple it even was,” said Leno, who twice passed marriage equality bills in the state Legislature only to see then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger veto the legislation.

He suggested the appellate court’s reversal on lifting the stay was likely due to the “resolute statements” earlier in the week by both Kamala and Governor Jerry Brown that there was no reason to wait on resuming the gay nuptials.

“I can’t think of one good reason why it should have waited. Clearly, the court was of the same mind,” said Leno, who had been scheduled to introduce San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee at the annual transgender march kicking off in Dolores Park tonight.

But Leno could be found marrying a male couple from Daly City who had come down to City Hall to wed. He had moments before joked with the B.A.R. that he had his “script ready to go,” pulling out a piece of paper with the standard marriage ceremony outlined on it from his suit pocket.

“You are my constituents,” Leno told the men after asking them where they were from following the ceremony.

City Hall to be open Saturday and Sunday for weddings

The county clerk’s office is open until at least 8 p.m. tonight (Friday, June 28) and will also be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 29 and Sunday, June 30.

Lee said in a statement that he was “so proud” to see Harris marry Stier and Perry Friday.

“Now, and from this day forward, same-sex couples can share in the same joy that is available to all Americans,” Lee stated. “And while we will continue the struggle for marriage equality and civil rights for EVERY American in every state, we pause today to reflect on the historic nature of this very important milestone in our country’s history.”

Following the direction of the governor, the state Department of Public Health notified clerks and registrar/recorders in all 58 counties Friday that same-sex marriage is now legal in the state, “and that marriage licenses must be issued to same-sex couples immediately,” a statement from Brown’s office said.

While waiting with Stier and Perry at the clerk’s office in San Francisco Harris was spotted on the phone with the county clerk in Los Angeles. There was some doubt on if that office could marry the other Prop 8 plaintiffs, Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo, who were set to be the second couple to official marry today.

“I had a little talk with the clerk in L.A. There was some confusion on when the marriages could begin,” Harris later told reporters. “I was very direct that the marriages could begin.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) cheered Friday’s events.

“What has been a momentous week for Californians, and indeed all Americans, continues,” Pelosi stated. “As we celebrate Pride in San Francisco, we are filled with joy as marriages resume in our state and we continue to savor the historic wins this week for all LGBT Americans and their families.  Our fight continues – as we keep working to ensure the fair treatment of LGBT couples wherever they live in our country and ensure that justice is done for every American, no matter who they love.”

Lee, Harris, and other elected officials are expected to appear on the main stage at San Francisco’s Pride celebration Sunday.

Main stage producer Audrey Joseph had struggled to draw big-name entertainers to the free event this year, but said in a brief call Friday, “My headliner has always been marriage. … I’ve always known that was what it was going to be about.”

As one might expect, the backers of Prop 8 weren’t at all pleased with Friday’s developments.
“[I]t is a disgraceful day for California,” Prop 8 General Counsel Andy Pugno said in a statement from the group Protect Marriage.

He said the 9th Circuit Court’s decision to lift the stay was “depriving us of our right to ask for reconsideration.”

“This outrageous act of judicial tyranny tops off a chronic pattern of lawlessness,  throughout this case, by judges and politicians hell-bent 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.”

He added, “It remains to be seen whether the fight can go on.”

The B.A.R. will have more wedding coverage in its July 4 issue, which hits the streets Wednesday, July 3 due to the Fourth of July holiday.

— Matthew S. Bajko, June 28, 2013 @ 6:34 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Alameda County now issuing marriage licenses

With the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifting the stay in the Proposition 8 case, same-sex marriages resumed Friday in San Francisco and other counties.
rings

In Alameda County, the clerk-recorder’s office said it would remain open until 5:30 p.m. Friday (June 28) for people who want to get a marriage license. Wedding ceremonies stopped at 5 p.m. Friday and will resume Monday.

On Monday, the office will open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. It also has a wedding room where ceremonies are held. The office is located at 1106 Madison Street in Oakland.

The East Bay Stonewall Democratic Club issued a news release late Friday saying that it is recruiting volunteers to perform marriages. So far, 230 people have signed up. Club members will be coordinating this weekend to gear up for “Wedding Week” on Monday, the release stated.

— Cynthia Laird, @ 5:09 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


BREAKING: Prop 8 lifted, marriages resume tonight

Prop 8 plaintiffs Kristin Perry, left, and Sandra Stier  (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

Prop 8 plaintiffs Kristin Perry, left, and Sandra Stier
(Photo: Rick Gerharter)

In an unexpected move, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decided to lift the stay on Proposition 8 and allow same-sex marriages to resume immediately.

A few minutes ago the American Foundation for Equal Rights announced that the first couple to marry in San Francisco would be plaintiffs Kris Perry and Sandy Stier. The Berkeley couple was of two couples that were part of the lawsuit, named after Perry and known as Hollingsworth v. Perry.

The other plaintiffs, Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo, are to be married in Los Angeles.

Perry and Stier are set to exchange vows in the Rotunda of San Francisco City Hall at 4:15 p.m.

The wedding will take place just two days after the U. S. Supreme Court issued its in the case that restores marriage equality to California.

It had been expected that the marriages would not begin until late July in case Prop 8’s backers asked the nation’s highest court to rehear the case. And on Wednesday a spokesman for the federal appellate court had said it would wait until the 25-day deadline to file such a petition had run its course.

But the court switched course and late this afternoon lifted its stay on a federal district decision that had found Prop 8 to be unconstitutional.

Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin, who launched AFER in 2008 in order to bring forward the legal challenge to Prop 8,  is currently in San Francisco to attend the city’s annual Pride parade in which Perry and Stier and a number of AFER staffers will march Sunday.

“After four and a half long and painful years, justice for committed gay and lesbian couples has finally been delivered,” stated Griffin. “In California, a time of struggle and indignity are over, and love, justice and freedom begin anew. And now, no election, no judge – no one – can take this basic right away. At long last, marriage has finally returned to the most populous state in the nation.”

 

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 3:41 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Lesbian CA finance chief to depart in the fall

ha_MATOSANTOS6317-thumb-320x213-18247-300x199Having worked with California’s last two governors during difficult budget times, lesbian Department of Finance Director Ana J. Matosantos will resign this fall.

The news comes a day after Brown signed into law a new balanced budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year amid improving economic conditions in the Golden State.

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced today (Friday, June 28) that after more than a decade of service to the state, Matosantos has decided to leave the administration in September, at which point Chief Deputy Director of Finance Michael Cohen will be appointed Director.

“During very tough economic times, Ana carried out her duties as finance director with insight, boundless energy and uncommon effectiveness,” said Governor Brown. “Michael has been an excellent chief deputy director and I’m confident that he’s fully up to the task of leading the department in the years ahead.”

Matosantos, who is married to Sally Espinoza, was first appointed finance director by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in December 2009. Brown opted to retain her in the position.

“It has been a privilege to serve the people of California during very difficult fiscal times, and now the state’s economy is recovering and its budget balanced,” said Matosantos. “I am humbled by the Governor’s trust and honored that he gave me this incredible opportunity. My colleagues at the Department of Finance embody all that is good about public service and my life has been enriched by serving the people of this great state as the department’s director.”

In the fall of 2011 Matosantos apologized and offered to resign after being arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. Brown refused to accept it.

Matosantos earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Stanford University in 1997 and has spent her career so far working in various positions with the state government.

Cohen, 40, of Sacramento, will be appointed Director of Finance, effective September 16, 2013.

“I am honored that Governor Brown has chosen me as the next Director of Finance,” said Cohen. “It is a tremendous opportunity for public service, and I look forward to assisting the Governor and the Legislature in continuing the tremendous fiscal progress that we’ve made.”

Cohen has served as Chief Deputy Director for Budget at the California Department of Finance since 2011. He earned a Master of Public Affairs degree from the Lyndon B. Johnson School at the University of Texas and a Bachelor of Arts degree in urban studies from Stanford University.

He lives with his wife Amy Supinger and two dogs, Lulu and Dexter. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $180,250. Cohen is a registered decline-to-state.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 12:32 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Prop 8 plaintiffs to march in SF Pride parade

Prop 8 plaintiffs Kristin Perry, left, and Sandra Stier  (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

Prop 8 plaintiffs Kristin Perry, left, and Sandra Stier
(Photo: Rick Gerharter)

Berkeley couple Kristin Perry and Sandra Stier, one of the two plaintiffs in the Proposition 8 lawsuit, will be marching in the San Francisco Pride parade on Sunday.

Stier and her soon-to-be legal wife, whose last name is in the name of the case, known as Hollingsworth v. Perry, arrived back in the Bay Area Thursday afternoon having been in Washington, D.C. Wednesday for the release of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision.

They flew back to Los Angeles to attend a rally Wednesday night and arrived Thursday at SFO around 3 p.m. That night they were special guests at the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus annual Pride concert.

After being introduced, the women received a loud and extended standing ovation from the audience. During intermission of the concert, dedicated to the memory of slain gay rights leader Harvey Milk, San Francisco’s first out elected supervisor, the couple spoke briefly to the Bay Area Reporter and the local ABC News affiliate in the lobby of the recently restored Nourse Theater on Hayes Street at Franklin a short walk from City Hall where they had first exchanged vows to one another nine years ago.

“It is so great to be back in San Francisco,” said Perry, noting that the trial at the district court level took place a few blocks away back in the winter of 2010. “And to be here tonight celebrating Harvey Milk and with the community is absolutely perfect.”

While people have been thanking them for being part of the historic legal fight – several concertgoers asked for their autographs – the women said they have been thanking them in return.

“This would never have happened without everybody doing their part,” said Stier. “It is a collective effort.”

She also praised Edie Windsor, whose lawsuit known as U.S. v. Windsor led to the U.S. Supreme Court striking down Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act so that state-sanctioned same-sex marriages can be recognized by the federal government.

“Edie Windsor is an amazing hero. She sued on her own to get DOMA overturned,” said Stier.

Stier and Perry will be marching in the Pride parade with a large group of people from the American Foundation for Equal Rights, the group that filed the federal lawsuit against Proposition 8 shortly after California voters adopted the ban against same-sex marriages in November of 2008.

The AFER contingent is expected to march alongside that of the San Francisco City Attorney’s office, which has fought the legal battle for marriage equality since 2004 when then Mayor Gavin Newsom ordered city staff to begin marrying same-sex couples. The city was a party to the federal lawsuit.

As noted in a 2011 profile of the women in the B.A.R., Perry and Stier had a private wedding ceremony with family and friends on August 1, 2004 after their first exchange of wedding vows in February of that year was later annulled by the state Supreme Court. Due to that experience, they opted not to marry again during the summer and fall of 2008 when same-sex couples had a four-month window to legally wed.

They are now waiting to learn when same-sex marriages will be able to begin again in the Golden State, which isn’t expected to happen until late July or early August.

Asked if they were disappointed that the U.S. Supreme Court did not use their case to extend marriage rights to all same-sex couples, the women said they were still “elated” with the court’s decision that Prop 8’s backers had no legal standing to appeal the district court’s ruling that the anti-gay ballot measure was unconstitutional.

“At the end of the day what we set out to do was see that Prop 8 was repealed and marriages resume in California,” said Perry, the mother of four sons with Stier.

Pride officials have yet to release the line-up for the parade, which begins at 10 a.m. at Market Street and Beale and ends at Market and 8th Street.

To watch live coverage of the parade Sunday log onto www.sfpridelive.com. Later that day, at 7 p.m., KOFY TV 13/20 will broadcast the footage.

 

 

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 11:24 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Don’t forget the sunscreen for Pride weekend

The weather is supposed to be hot and San Francisco Pride officials are expecting record crowds at this weekend’s Pride parade and festival due to the excitement over Wednesday’s historic Supreme Court rulings in two same-sex marriage cases. That means a lot of people will be crowding Market Street for the parade on Sunday, June 30, and Civic Center Plaza for the festival on Saturday, June 29 and Sunday, June 30.

“It’s the perfect weather for a celebration, but also the perfect set-up for some heat-related illnesses,” Dr. Tomas Aragon, health officer for the City and County of San Francisco, said in a statement. “We want everyone to have a good time, and that includes staying safe and healthy by observing some practical tips and being prepared.”

BLOG_DPH

Officials with the San Francisco Department of Public Health noted that everyone is affected by heat but age, medical condition, and alcohol consumption can quickly complicate how individuals respond to periods of excessive heat. People age 65 and over; infants and young children; and people with medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease are vulnerable to heat-related illnesses, officials said.

With that in mind, Aragon recommends the following tips for preventing heat- and sun-related illnesses:

– Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. You can even bring your own bottle to ensure that you’ll have some and look for refilling stations.

– Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink.

– Wear light-colored, lightweight clothing and a hat.

– If you consume alcohol or high-sugared drinks, do so in moderation.

– Wear sunscreen and reapply as needed.

– Take a break from the sun and heat by spending some time in the shade or seek out a cooler environment.

If you or your friends notice someone in distress, seek medical help. SF Pride will have medical teams in place. Aragon said that signs of medical distress include: difficulty breathing; red, hot, dry skin with no sweating; rapid, strong pulse; throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea; delirium (confusion); and chills.

DPH has produced a special 2013 fair season flier targeting men who have sex with men with health, party, and sex tips. Outreach workers will be distributing the flier throughout the weekend along the parade route.

— Cynthia Laird, June 27, 2013 @ 2:25 pm PST
Filed under: Music


Gay Congress members celebrate DOMA ruling, call for passage of LGBT rights

Congressman Mark Pocan

Congressman Mark Pocan

While celebrating today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, gay congressional members are also calling for the passage of legislation to protect all of the rights LGBT Americans deserve.

Freshman Congressman Mark Pocan (D-Wisconsin), a co-chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus and the only current married gay member of Congress, noted that his marriage to his husband, Philip Frank, is still not recognized by his home state, one of 37 with state-level bans against same-sex marriage.

“As we celebrate this momentous occasion, we must continue to move forward and ensure all loving couples are treated as equals. While my husband Phil and I continue to wait to have our marriage recognized by both Wisconsin and Washington, I am now more confident than ever that full marriage equality is a question not of if, but when,” he stated.

Gay Congressman Jared Polis (D-Colorado) sent an email to his supporters in which he said today made him “proud to be American” and proud to be living in a country with a constitution that affirms “all people are created equal.”

“The Supreme Court’s decision will have an enormous impact on same-sex couples’ lives legally, fiscally and emotionally,” wrote Polis.

He also noted, however, that “there is still more work to be done” and called for passage of federal legislation that protects LGBT people from being discriminated against in the workplace, in schools or when it comes to housing or public accommodations.

“We must gain strength from this tremendous triumph and take action now to ensure that members of the LGBT community are treated equally and have the same protections under the law as every other American,” stated Polis.

While gay Congressman Mark Takano (D-Riverside), the first out member of California’s congressional delegation, said Wednesday was “a monumental day” for all American families, he also promised to fight for additional protections for LGBT people.

“Even with these victories, the fight for equality is not over. Many legally married couples who now reside in states that do not recognize their marriages will not receive the full benefits of DOMA’s end unless Congress takes action,” noted Takano in a press release. “Millions more LGBT Americans live in states that give no recognition to their relationships whatsoever, and we must continue to fight to end this injustice.”

Takano, who will be in San Francisco this Sunday, June 30, to participate in the city’s Pride events and parade, added, “I remain committed to this movement and will explore all possible options to ensure that all Americans, regardless of who they love, are treated the same under the law.”

Lesbian U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin), the first out person to serve in the Senate, posted a two-minute video on her official website responding to the court rulings in which she noted that many Americans “want a country that is more equal, not less.”

She, too, said the LGBT community’s “fight to make America more equal will not end with the court rulings,” even though they are a “huge step forward.”

 

 

— Matthew S. Bajko, June 26, 2013 @ 2:05 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Security company offers armed guards for weddings

A security company is offering same-sex and other couples armed guards for their weddings.

Teja Foster, spokeswoman for GuardNow, which is based in Los Angeles and has a franchise covering San Francisco, said the outfit has already been providing guards to help protect couples against unruly, drunken guests and gift thieves.

But with the U.S. Supreme Court announcing Wednesday (June 26) that it is ordering the dismissal of California’s Proposition 8 same-sex marriage ban, couples may have additional concerns.

“These are worries that are going to come up,” Foster said. “The crazed people that are unhappy about the legalization going on,” as well as members of the press showing up to get a glimpse of same-sex couples getting married.

Hiring an unarmed guard for the minimal four hours costs $249. Getting a guard with a gun costs $299. For those who prefer, guards may be equipped with Tasers rather than guns. Until the end of September, GuardNow is offering newly engaged and soon-to-be-married couples 15 percent off their entire wedding order.

The company was already busy with LGBTs before Wednesday’s announcements.

“For weddings, probably about 70 percent of our calls are for same-sex marriages,” Foster said. Los Angeles and San Francisco are the company’s two busiest areas, and the firm also gets “a lot of calls” from New York, she said. She expects the business to increase.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 1:15 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Bay Area LGBT politicians hail historic DOMA, Prop 8 rulings

Senator Mark Leno officiates the 2008 wedding of Martha Newman and Lisa Schilling (Photo courtesy of Leno's office)

Senator Mark Leno officiates the 2008 wedding of Martha Newman and Lisa Schilling
(Photo courtesy of Leno’s office)

Among those celebrating today’s historic marriage equality rulings, particularly the demise of the anti-gay California law known as Proposition 8, are the many local and state LGBT elected officials.

Many have either married their spouses, and are now eligible for federal benefits due to the striking down of a section of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, or officiated at the weddings of countless same-sex couples over the years.

Gay State Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), who a decade ago led the fight in the state Legislature as an assemblyman to secure marriage rights for LGBT Californians, praised the rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court for fulfilling the U.S. Constitution’s promise “that all men and women are created equal and as such must be treated equally under the law.”

In a statement issued by his office shortly after the Prop 8 ruling was announced, Leno called the justices’ decisions “defining moments for our country, landmark affirmations of basic civil rights by our nation’s highest court and long sought victories for thousands of couples who wish to honor their commitment to one another through the institution of marriage.”

Also hailing the decision was gay Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), who plans to join the celebrations tonight in Sacramento set to take place at 6 p.m. on the West steps of the state Capitol.

“Thank you, Supremes, for stopping the Proposition 8 and DOMA madness in the name of love. Now any Californian will be able to marry the person he or she loves and the federal government will recognize that marriage,” stated Ammiano.

He added that the developments this morning are “not total victory, of course,” since “there are LGBT people in most states who don’t have marriage equality yet.”

Thus, added Ammiano, the struggle for LGBT rights has yet to end.

“We still have to watch out to protect the rights of lesbians, gays and transgender people – and all people who suffer discrimination or inequality for any reason,” stated Ammiano. “Let’s keep building on the Bill of Rights, and make sure no one loses out because of where they come from, because of how poor they are or because of who they love.”

One of the few married LGBT leaders in the state, gay Assemblyman Rich Gordon (D-Menlo Park), thanked the Supreme Court for striking down DOMA so that he and his husband, Dr. Dennis McShane, could qualify for the more than 1,000 federal rights granted to married people.

“Marriage equality has been a priority and a dream of the LGBT community for decades. Today, with the Supreme Court’s announcements, we are realizing that dream and we now celebrate equal marriage rights for all Californians,” stated Gordon, chair of the Legislative Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Caucus. “In 2008, I had the privilege of marrying my partner of 26 years. This was one of the greatest days of my life, as we were finally able to stand together and say, in front of our friends, family and loved ones, ‘We are a family.’ This is an experience that many loving couples have been unjustly denied until now.”

Taking part in the celebration this morning inside San Francisco City Hall, gay Supervisor Scott Wiener told the crowd of several hundred people that he looks forward to the day later this summer when he comes to work and sees LGBT couples among the many brides and grooms who choose to have civil marriages under the building’s historic dome.

“A lot of marriages are constantly happening in this rotunda,” said Wiener. “For three years I have seen a constant reminder that there were no gay people getting married. Those marriages are going to get a little more diverse.”

His board colleague, gay Supervisor David Campos, said that it was “a very emotional moment for those of us in the LGBT community” because the decisions mean that “our own government recognizes we are people who deserve to have dignity and respect. That is what this means.”

Gay Campbell City Councilman Evan Low, who is seeking a South Bay Assembly seat in 2014, said he plans to celebrate with his town’s families and the nation “on this historic day.”

“As an openly gay mayor who was able to officially marry others, but not get married myself, I now have renewed faith in our democracy and applaud those who have advocated and fought for true equality,” stated Low, who was elected to the ceremonial mayoralty for 2013 by his fellow council members. “The next step is to win the hearts and minds of others in the 38 states that still prohibit gays and lesbians to marry.”

Lesbian Oakland At-Large City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan announced that the East Bay city would host a street party tonight (Wednesday, June 25) to celebrate the rulings from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Uptown Art Park, located at 19th Street and Telegraph Avenue in downtown Oakland.

In an email to supporters, Kaplan said the court’s rulings are “a profound victory for same-sex couples – and for love and humanity.”

She added that, “Our city has long been a place of diversity and inclusion – and overwhelmingly rejected Proposition 8.”

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 1:07 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


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