Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 8 / 22 February 2018

SF begins plans for U.S. Supreme Court marriage announcement in June

National Center for Lesbian Rights Executive Director Kate Kendell and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. Photo: Seth Hemmelgarn

National Center for Lesbian Rights Executive Director Kate Kendell and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. Photo: Seth Hemmelgarn

San Francisco city officials and LGBT community leaders are planning a celebration at City Hall in anticipation of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that same-sex marriages should be legal in all 50 states.

Mayor Ed Lee; his chief of staff, Steve Kawa; National Center for Lesbian Rights Executive Director Kate Kendell; and many others seemed optimistic marriage equality advocates will be victorious as they met in the mayor’s conference room today (Thursday, April 23).

The Supreme Court justices are set to hear oral arguments Tuesday, April 28 in the consolidated marriage case from the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Marriage is already legal in California and 36 other states, along with the District of Columbia.

The court is expected to announce its ruling in June. Those gathered at City Hall today expressed hope that the news would come before the city’s LGBT Pride parade and celebration, which is set for June 27-28.

Suggestions for the day of the court’s announcement included displaying flags from all 50 states and a light show in Civic Center Plaza that night.

Kendell, who’s organization is representing plaintiffs in the case before the Supreme Court, backed the idea of encouraging people to come to City Hall “to celebrate and to commit to finishing the job.”

She echoed comments made by Lee, who said even if the court rules in favor of marriage equality, that “doesn’t mean the end of discrimination,” and “we’ve got to move forward on society accepting this.”

“We’re going to have a backlash,” Kendell said. For many people who are poor, transgender, black, and other LGBTs, “this is not going to help you,” and it’s important to have speakers at the event to “make clear” that “we’re not leaving anyone behind.”

Kawa noted one of the main challenges planners face.

“Planning for a date that doesn’t exist yet is a difficult thing,” he said. He added that it’s important to get police involved to ensure safety at whatever event is planned.

But he also indicated he’s confident the mayor’s office will have plenty of help.

“Now you’re being volunteered to help us,” Kawa told the others present, who also included gay Supervisor David Campos, LGBT Pride Celebration Committee Executive Director George Ridgely, and Rebecca Prozan, who’s a lesbian and a former top aide to District Attorney George Gascon who now serves as Google’s public policy and government relations manager.

“We have your names, we have our emails, and we have your phone numbers,” Kawa quipped.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, April 23, 2015 @ 4:06 pm PST
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