San Francisco: Newsom marks 3rd anniversary of same-sex marriage

Anthony Cuesta | February 14, 2007

Mayor Gavin Newsom
SAN FRANCISCO — Mayor Gavin Newsom on Monday, along with three same-sex couples, marked the 3rd anniversary of a celebrated move to issue marriage licenses to same couples.

Despite an October 11 state appeals court ruling that same-sex couples do not have the right to marry, the mayor and the couples gathered at a City Hall press conference to remember the heated controversy on Feb. 12, 2004.

According to the mayor's office, reports Bay City News, 11 couples are taking part in a lawsuit that will be heard by the California Supreme Court this spring.

John Lewis and Stuart Gaffney were married Feb. 12, 2004 in San Francisco and plan to celebrate their 20th anniversary this year, reports BCN. Lewis held up their now-void marriage certificate and said, "We want to get that joy, to get that dignity back."

Kate Kendell, the executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, told the San Francisco Examiner that when she received a call from Newsom�s office saying he wanted to enlist the group�s help in giving out marriage licenses, that it launched �a transformative and powerful series of events.�

Newsom said at the conference that he hopes that the California Supreme Court will strictly interpret the state's constitution to reach its decision regarding same-sex marriage. He says that President George W. Bush served as an indirect source of inspiration for his decision three years ago to issue marriage licenses.

"There's a reason Bush wanted to change the Constitution, he was worried the Constitution was too fair," Newsom said, reports BCN.

According to the Examiner, Newsom said he has never regretted the controversial action, which some people say caused a backlash that resulted in gay marriage bans across the country. Newsom pointed out that in that same time frame, civil unions and domestic partnerships – which offer gay couples some of the rights provided within marriage – are gaining mainstream acceptance.

�I don�t think there�s ever a wrong time to do the right thing,� Newsom said reports the Examiner.

Nationwide, 26 states have legal bans against gay marriage. On Monday, conservative groups in New Jersey launched a petition drive to amend that state�s constitution to limit marriage to heterosexual couples.

Massachusetts is the only U.S. state to allow same-sex marriage; it is legal in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and South Africa. – Issued by Gay Link Content

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