Fags Can’t Marry – San Francisco Civic Center Placard
So, who can’t get married now bitch – San Francisco Civic Center T-Shirt
Mayor Newsom married Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin,
who have been together over 50 years,
in the only same-sex ceremony to be performed
at City Hall tonight
Phyllis Lyon, right, kisses her partner Del Martin after
being married by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom in a
special ceremony at City Hall in San Francisco,
Monday, June 16, 2008
Mayor Newsom presents married ladies Del Martin, seated,
and Phyllis Lyon
Cheers went up shortly after 5 p.m. at San Francisco’s City Hall as longtime lesbian activists Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin, partners for more than 50 years, began their second wedding.
Mayor Gavin Newsom, who officiated the ceremony in the reception area of his office, said it was a fitting way to memorialize last month’s state Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage in California. The decision took effect at 5:01 p.m.
Lyon, 83, and Martin, 87, were the first couple married four years ago when Newsom told the county clerk’s office to start offering marriage certificates to same-sex couples. Eventually more than 4,000 same-sex couples were married in 2004, but those unions were later nullified by the court.
Newsom waited until exactly 5:01 p.m. to begin the ceremony and the women were declared “spouses for life” at 5:07 p.m. in front of about 50 friends and family members. Martin came into the area in a wheelchair but stood for the ceremony.
“It was a great experience,” Lyon said simply when it was over.
The couple made their way out of the office and onto the balcony area where a cake – and large crowd- was waiting. Rose pedals fluttered down from the ceiling as the crowd cheered and cameras flashed.
“This is an extraordinary moment in history and extraordinary moment in time” Newsom said to crowd. “They are extraordinary people who have lived extraordinary lives and spent half a century fighting for justice and equality.”
Lyon drew laughter with her comments.
“When first got together, we were not really thinking about getting married, we were thinking about getting together,” she said, “I think it’s a wonderful day.”
“Ditto,” Martin said.
PHYLLIS LYON AND DEL MARTIN REMEMBER EARLY YEARS
Just before 5:30 p.m., the couple cut their cake.
Although Lyon and Martin’s ceremony is the only one at City Hall tonight, hundreds of couples are expected to flood the domed building Tuesday for the first full day of legal same-sex marriage.
Elsewhere in California, county clerks offices also began marrying gay and lesbian couples. In the Bay Area, Sonoma and Alameda counties expect to perform dozens of ceremonies before the night is over.
At the Sonoma County clerk’s office, dozens of county staff members and supporters counted the seconds down from 10. And at 5:01 p.m. – with a cheer – Mark Gren, 42 and Chris Lechman, 37, of Guerneville, stepped up to apply for marriage license.
A few minutes later, the couple entered a small room adjacent to the clerk’s office to take their vows – “in sickness and in health, for better and for worse, come what may” – then both men said “I do.”
Outside, Unitarian Church members handed out little bunches of flowers, while another 18 couples and their families waited for their own special moment.
Joe Balestreri of Santa Rosa said he came just to witness the first wedding.
“Now that I have the choice it doesn’t mean I am going to rush in to it,” he said, laughing.
Oakland Mayor Ronald Dellums also planned to officiate about a dozen ceremonies at Oakland City Hall this evening, while another 35 couples are expected to wed at the Alameda County Clerk-Recorder’s office on Madison Street.
By 5 p.m., the lobby of the clerk’s office was packed with couples and their friends, everyone antsy to start the ceremonies. Around 5:20 p.m., the first couple – Kenny Latham, 47, and Keith Boadwee, 46 – finished filling out their wedding certificate and made their way upstairs for the ceremony.
The Emeryville couple celebrated their 10-year anniversary in May, and chose traditional vows for their ceremony.
Janet Appel, a volunteer deputy marriage commissioner, officiated the wedding, telling the men that “no other words are as tender as these vows or important as these vows.”
Latham described the moment as a “victory.”
“We’ve been together so long, we know what it means to be a couple,” Boadwee added. “However, now we have the legal protection, wherever we go throughout the state people will recognize it.”
Not everyone is happy about the state Supreme Court decision, which ruled that denying gay and lesbian couples the opportunity to marry was a violation of their civil rights under the California Constitution.
Outside San Francisco’s City Hall, hundreds of raucous opponents and supporters of same-sex marriage filled the sidewalk.
THANK YOU GAVIN CHRISTOPHER NEWSOM
A woman from the church of right-wing Kansas pastor Fred Phelps – whose followers are known for their anti-gay slogans – stood behind several police barricades put up in Civic Center. Along with two of her children, the woman loudly sang “God Bless America” while waving derogatory signs. Another protester drove around the block in a truck painted to look like an American flag with a sign that read “Sodomy is sin.”
Luong Do, who said he drove up from San Jose, held a giant sign that read, “homo sex is a threat to national security.”
“We want to tell people this lifestyle they’re living is a death style that will get them diseases in this life and eternal hell in the second,” he said.
Others were there to support the pending nuptials. One man strummed a guitar and sang “Going to the Chapel,” while Kathryn Werhane threw rose petals on some of the protesters.
“We want to support these weddings. It’s love and tolerance for real,” she said. “Any proclamation of love is good with us. Why are they crashing our party?”
Inside the building things were more subdued, though the excitement was palpable even earlier in the day.
Martin and Lyon’s friends started gathering early. Arlene Rusche, 68, and Clara Brock, 80, sat on a bench outside the mayor’s office shortly after 3 p.m. and planned to witness the wedding. Brock was one of the first members of Daughters of Bilitis, a lesbian-rights group that Martin and Lyon founded in 1955.
“I never thought this was going to happen to tell you the truth,” Brock said.
“This is so, so big,” agreed Rusche, Brock’s partner for 17 years. “I never thought it would happen in our lifetime. It just shows we are making progress.”
Several feet away sat a couple on vacation from Ireland who happened to stumble on the historic event. Christine Yearsley said she planned to stay at City Hall the rest of the afternoon to witness as much as she could.
“This gentleman just told me there are two elderly ladies who are getting married today after being together for 50 years,” she said. “They’re obviously committed! I think it’s terrific. They’re an example for heterosexuals, I think.”
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