We had the honor and the privilege to witness some of the weddings going on at San Francisco City Hall yesterday. When we arrived, there were weddings happening on the first landing and at the top of the stairs. We climbed the stairs in anticipation, and watched a lesbian couple marry, surrounded by friends and onlookers.
It’s hard to explain the atmosphere there… it was suffused with joy. As couples would come up to marry, they would often start spontaneously crying as the volunteer officiant read the ceremony. And every time a couple was announced to the world as married, a huge cheer went up from all the onlookers.
We remember well being at the top of the stairs ourselves in March, 2004, on the last day of then-Mayor Gavin Newsom’s weddings, and feeling those same emotions – love, shock, amazement that the city of San Francisco recognized us as a couple.
Only now it is bigger – now it’s a mark of entry into a truly first-class citizenship.
And it’s about love. It has always been about love, a fact our opponents failed to appreciate.
Barbara Weicksel at LGBTQ Nation explains it best:
I don’t believe I understood how much I was holding inside of me, until I no longer had to hold on to it any longer. When Pete Williams of MSNBC announced that DOMA, the federal Defense of Marriage Act, was dead, I broke into tears. Not just a few tears – I couldn’t stop them from coming. It was in that moment that I realized that in the eyes of my government, I am no longer a second class citizen. I’ve always known that I wasn’t… still, there was that legal line that LGBT people were not allowed to cross over.
Even now, our opponents try to take it away from us. But they will fail.
We belong, now, in a way we didn’t just five days ago. I feel EMPOWERED. And if the rest of the gay community feels like Barbara does, like Mark and I do, think what we can accomplish next.