Sunday, February 14, 2010

“Freedom to Marry Day” at San Francisco City Hall

Host Tawal Panyacosit Jr. from API Equality

Same-sex couples — some already married and others seeking to marry — gathered at San Francisco City Hall on Feb. 12 for the National Freedom to Marry Day ceremonies.

There was a moment for speeches in the Light Court led by host Tawal Panyacosit Jr., Director of API Equality. Molly McKay, Media Director of Marriage Equality USA (MEUSA), then spoke to the massed TV and other press and activists with her wife, author Davina Kotulski. Marc Solomon, Marriage Director of Equality California (EQCA) gave a commentary about the current situation. Chiah Connolly-Ingram and Jeff DeGroot, representatives from COLAGE (Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere), then spoke passionately about their lesbian mothers and about how they deserved equality.

Molly McKay of Marriage Equality USA

McKay led the throng to the Marriage Clerk’s office, loudly singing — which surprised the non-LGBT couples and their entourages. Clerk Karen Hong was given floral tributes by the same-sex couples who had been married, and had to cite California law to deny the other same-sex couples wanting a marriage license.

Husbands John Lewis and Stuart Gaffney, together for 23 years, thank clerk Karen Hong for their 2008 marriage license

The procession of couples reappeared at the Light Court and heard husbands Joe Alfano and Frank Capley speak about how they had overcome the opposition of Capley’s labor union to his husband receiving health benefits. They spoke altruistically about a lesbian co-worker of Capley’s who has been denied health benefits for her lover because they are domestic partners, and unmarried.

Husbands Joe Alfano and Frank Capley

A display of “Winter of Love” quilts was on display at City Hall and activists held up others for the media. About 40 people participating in straight marriage ceremonies walked into the Rotunda to be shocked by the sight of about a thousand LGBT people and friends massed on the steps to watch an overwhelmingly personal and fluid “Love Everywhere” dance and musical performance.

The "Love Everywhere" performance in the City Hall Rotunda

There was a feeling of regeneration for activism from the day’s experience that hopefully will lead to full marriage equality.

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