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.