SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California’s Supreme Court declared gay couples in the nation’s biggest state can marry — a monumental but perhaps short-lived victory for the gay rights movement Thursday that was greeted with tears, hugs, kisses and at least one instant proposal of matrimony.
“Essentially, this boils down to love. We love each other. We now have equal rights under the law,” declared a jubilant Robin Tyler, a plaintiff in the case along with her partner. She added: “We’re going to get married. No Tupperware, please.”
A crowd of people raised their fists in triumph inside City Hall, and people wrapped themselves in the rainbow-colored gay-pride flag outside the courthouse. In the Castro, the historic center of the gay community in San Francisco, Tim Oviatt wept as he watched the news on TV.
By the afternoon, gay and lesbian couples had already started lining up at San Francisco City Hall to make appointments to get marriage licenses. In West Hollywood, supporters were planning to serve “wedding cake” at an evening celebration.
In its 4-3 ruling, the Republican-dominated high court struck down state laws against same-sex marriage and said domestic partnerships that provide many of the rights and benefits of matrimony are not enough.
“In contrast to earlier times, our state now recognizes that an individual’s capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual’s sexual orientation,” Chief Justice Ronald George wrote for the majority in ringing language that delighted gay rights activists.
Massachusetts is the only other state to legalize gay marriage, something it did in 2004. The California ruling is considered monumental by virtue of the state’s size — 38 million out of a U.S. population of 302 million — and its historic role in the vanguard of the many social and cultural changes that have swept the country since World War II.
California has an estimated 92,000 same-sex couples.
“It’s about human dignity. It’s about human rights. It’s about time in California,” San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, pumping his fist in the air, told a roaring crowd at City Hall. “As California goes, so goes the rest of the nation. It’s inevitable. This door’s wide open now. It’s going to happen, whether you like it or not.”
Unlike Massachusetts, California has no residency requirement for obtaining a marriage license, meaning gays from around the country are likely to flock to the state to be wed, said Jennifer Pizer, a gay-rights attorney who worked on the case.
February 12, 2004
San Francisco made history by granting the first ever same-sex marriage license to a prominent lesbian couple as part of a challenge to a ban on gay marriage. Longtime activists Phyllis Lyon, 79, and Del Martin, 83, who have been a couple for over 51 years, said their vows at city hall after Mayor Gavin Newsom ordered officials to wed gay couples and issue marriage licenses in an act of civil disobedience against a state law that bars same-sex marriages.
Lyon and Martin stood facing each other and beamed when a city official pronounced them not husband and wife but “spouses for life.” After their brief ceremony they were going home to rest and did not plan anything to celebrate. The couple seemed proud of what they had done. “Why shouldn’t we” be able to marry? Phyllis asked. The mayor was not present at the morning ceremony but later presented the newlyweds with a signed copy of the state constitution with the sections related to equal rights highlighted.
The two official witnesses for their nuptials were Kate Kendell, director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights and former city official Roberta Achtenberg. Congratulations, gals!
In the new LA Weekly, Patrick Range McDonald profiles Jeremy Bernard and Rufus Gifford, the fund-raising consultants and gay couple who have been raising much of the money in Los Angeles for the Barack Obama campaign.
Among other things, they were instrumental in raising some $850,000 at a recent Obama fund-raiser in Pacific Palisades that drew Mike Medavoy, Bill Paxton and Richard Zanuck — who rarely donates to Democrats.
- Our sexuality is an ASPECT of who we are, not a definition
- We don’t know your cousin, just because he’s gay
- No, we’ve never met Celine Dion, but we did see her show!
- Yes, we do have straight friends
- No, we won’t go dancing with you and your girlfriends… well, maybe…
Just last year, the magic of MySpace brought us news that Lindsay Lohan wanted to marry lesbian wingwoman Sam Ronson and have her children. And what better way to begin that fairy tale than by shacking up together? Sources tell the NY Post that Ronson is so dedicated to making sure Lindsay stays clean, that she’s taken to spending every night at the underpaid flesh-baring actress’ LA abode.
Amy King is the recipient of the 2015 Winner of the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA) Award. Her latest collection, The Missing Museum, is a winner of the 2015 Tarpaulin Sky Book Prize. She co-edited with Heidi Lynn Staples the anthology Big Energy Poets of the Anthropocene: When Ecopoets Think Climate Change. She also co-edits the anthology series, Bettering American Poetry, and is a professor of creative writing at SUNY Nassau Community College.