San Francisco Officials Marry Gay Couples

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by radhak, Feb 12, 2004.

  1. radhak macrumors regular

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    #1
    Talk of radical action ! Maybe they are the George Wallace from this side of the fence?

    San Francisco Officials Marry Gay Couples

    edit : pasted the article below :

    San Francisco Officials Marry Gay Couples

    By LISA LEFF, Associated Press Writer

    SAN FRANCISCO - In an open challenge to California law, city authorities officiated at at least eight same-sex weddings Thursday and issued about a dozen more marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

    The act of civil disobedience was coordinated by Mayor Gavin Newsom and top officials in the city considered the capital of gay America.

    Longtime lesbian activists Phyllis Lyon, 79, and Del Martin, 83, were hurriedly issued a married license and were wedded just before noon by City Assessor Mabel Teng in a closed-door civil ceremony at City Hall, mayor's spokesman Peter Ragone said. The two have been a couple for 51 years.

    By early afternoon, city officials had married at least seven other gay couples. The vows in one of those weddings, performed before TV cameras, replaced the traditional phrasing that couples take each other as "husband and wife" with "spouse for life."

    City Hall was crowded with jubilant same-sex couples. About 30 couples crowded outside the San Francisco County Clerk's office awaiting licenses, many arm in arm. One of the women, wearing a white wedding dress and veil, encouraged couples to shout out their names and how long they had been together.

    It remains unclear what practical value the marriage licenses will have, but the symbolism was clear on a day when lawmakers in Massachusetts debated for a second day a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

    A conservative group called the Campaign for California Families characterized Thursday's marriages as a sham.

    "These unlawful certificates are not worth the paper they are printed on. The renegade mayor of San Francisco has no authority to do this," said Randy Thomasson, the group's executive director. "This is nothing more than a publicity stunt that disrespects our state law and system of government itself."

    San Francisco officials insisted the licenses were legally binding.

    Thursday's marriages violate a ballot measure California voters approved in 2000 that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

    No state legally sanctions gay marriage, though Massachusetts could become the first this spring. The Massachusetts high court has ruled that gays are entitled under the state constitution to marry. That led to the debate over a constitutional amendment.

    The gay marriages in San Francisco were timed by city officials to outmaneuver the conservative group. The group had planned to go to court on Friday to stop mayor's announced plans to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. But the city acted first.

    Lyon and Martin said after their brief ceremony that 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? Lyon asked.

    The mayor was not present at the morning ceremony but later presented Martin and Lyon with a signed copy of the state constitution with sections related to equal rights highlighted.

    The two official witnesses were Kate Kendell, director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights and former city official Roberta Achtenberg.

    The conservative group fighting gay marriage has also sued, so far unsuccessfully, to block the state's domestic partner law, which then-Gov. Gray Davis signed in September.

    That law expands the rights of gay couples in areas ranging from health coverage and parental status to property ownership and funeral arrangements.
     
  2. numediaman macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    Re: San Francisco Officials Marry Gay Couples

    . . . then they got married.

    Gay couples may soon find out what straight couples have known for years . . . its more fun before the ceremony!

    EDIT: Sayhey, you're absolutely right. I miss S.F. -- bring me home!
     
  3. Sayhey macrumors 68000

    Sayhey

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    #3
    I didn't vote for Newsom, but I'm proud of what he has done. It would be a tremendous mistake to leave the good folks of Massachusetts to fight this legal battle on their own. Sometimes I forget why it is so great to live in San Francisco - days like today make me remember.
     
  4. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #4
    Good for SF. The dam is about to break for gay marriage.

    We may have just witnessed a pivotal moment in the advancement of civil rights.
     
  5. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #5
    Let's just hope things keep moving in the right direction. Good news though.
     
  6. rainman::|:| macrumors 603

    rainman::|:|

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    #6
    i have the exact same feeling. i believe today will go down in history, the formal beginning of gay equality. it's very exciting to me personally, my partner and i are being joined in an honest-to-god mass ceremony at the Mensa AG in Vegas this summer... if this catches enough steam, maybe we'll get a certificate to go along with it. the vegas industry stands to make a lot from gays with disposable income, and industry does seem to write the law out there...

    anyway, i digress. hopefully this won't be like the medical marijuana initiative, where mayors sat in civil defiance of federal law, only to be ignored and then superceeded... but since it's such a big election issue, and happening elsewhere in the US, i think it's not just an isolated incident.

    i wonder who will be assassinated in this civil rights frenzy. i've always said we need our own Martin Luther King Jr to lead us, maybe that's not such a good idea...

    paul
     
  7. Sayhey macrumors 68000

    Sayhey

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    #7
    Paul, you're too young to remember Harvey Milk aren't you? Don't wish for such things.

    This move is designed to set up a court case before the California Supreme Court to test the DOMA proposition vs. the equal rights sections of the State Constitution. Hopefully we will get a similar result to Mass. The local Assemblyman, Mark Leno, is also putting forward a bill in Sacramento to allow for gay marriage statewide. Lots of things going on out here.
     
  8. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #8
    Does that work as a legal strategy, though? What standing does the city have to challenge state laws respecting marriage? I am also concerned that this will be taken as a grandstanding ploy that might be cheered in San Francisco, but jeered (if not ignored) everywhere else. If it doesn't work as a legal strategy, then I also have questions about how it works as a political strategy.
     
  9. iMeowbot macrumors G3

    iMeowbot

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    #9
    That's sort of the question the exercise is designed to answer. There are arguments that the California constitution renders discriminatory marriage laws invalid, and now those arguments can be tested in court.
     
  10. AMDMACMAN macrumors newbie

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    #10
    These marriages, like them or not will be overturned eventually. They are against the law. PERIOD. Untill the issue is settled these newly "married" couples better not get to cosey with the term marriage. I am not stating an opinion wether i agree or not just how i see the law.
     
  11. SPG macrumors 65816

    SPG

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    #11
    I sure hope this goes before the court (would it be the 9th circuit?) and that marriage for same sex couples is allowed. That being said, I'm still hazy on how a mayor can do this and not just get it shut down as a case of overstepping his bounds. Anyway I guess it starts this way and eventually ends up at the supreme court.
    While I'm rambling here, what is the deal with people opposing this? Marriage is a state contract with state benefits and obligations wholly unrelated to the religious realm. By denying these benefits and obligations solely over the basis of sexual orientation can be seen as nothing but simple descrimination or imposing religious doctrine on the public.
     
  12. SPG macrumors 65816

    SPG

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    #12
    Perhaps they will be ruled invalid, but that will be appealed and then the question will be whether it is discriminatory or not to deny same sex couples the right to marry.
    I am curious as to how you personally feel on the subject though, legalities aside.
     
  13. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #13
    all these progressive pro gay marriage judges and mayors are going to force a constitutional amendment to spell this out for these officials who are ignoring law,history,tradition. we will have a amendment and that will be the end. Law is no longer law what is going on are these elected officials are doing as they feel or want. the minority is trying to force its view on the majority. It doesnt work that way. sorry. thats why we have elections.
     
  14. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #14
    Huh? The minority is trying to gain equal access to rights the majority enjoys. This has nothing to do people with forcing their views on anyone. The fact that anyone thinks it is shows how easily (and mistakenly) emotionalised this issue can become.
     
  15. SPG macrumors 65816

    SPG

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    #15
    DHM, I guess you're saying that this will force an anti gay marriage amendment to the constitution?
    Legal cases do not amend the constitution, they merely interpret laws and set precedent. A constitutional amendment may be in the works as a reaction to these rulings, but that's as much of a link as possible. Right now polls show a fairly even split on outlawing gay marriage, but show fairly good support for allowing civil unions that grant same sex couples the same rights as hetero couples. If this comes to a vote, there would probably be a good debate about it and hopefully people would realize that it's a case about discrimination and rights, and not about the icky things people do in their bedrooms that their priests say is bad.

    Disclosure: I'm not gay but I am married... So what do I know?
     
  16. SPG macrumors 65816

    SPG

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    Word.
    It's been two days and I still haven't divorced my wife to marry a man...I guess the minority hasn't gotten around to forcing their views on me yet.
     
  17. Krizoitz macrumors 6502a

    Krizoitz

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    #17
    This was one of two things. It was either

    A) An attempt to force a constitutional challenge to over turn a law.

    B) A dumb stunt by this guy to ingratiate himself to the gay community.

    For his sake I hope it was choice A. Regardless I think it was a dumb stunt. I think that the tide of public opinion is turning in favor of civil unions at least, possibly marriage for gays. As a previous poster pointed out this could force a constitutional ammendmant that (shudder) if it passed could make this issue even worse.

    I think what he is doing is just piggy backing on the momentum of the Massachusetts law and trying to make himself look good by doing what is probably the right thing. If he really wanted to challenge the DOMA why didn't he do it before now?
     
  18. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #18
    they are ramming this down the politicians throats. Bush and Kerry have allready said no gay marriage. it may take some time but like i said they will spell it out in black and white so there is no debate. our society revolves around the idea of man & wife and procreation so they can create more taxpayers. man & man or wife and wife dont help to create taxpayers no matter how hard they try.;) If the gays want to pass wealth there are other ways to do this. civil rights stuff is malarky. marriage is a privilege like driving. its not a right. Its not even a campaign issue for me but thats my 2 cents.
     
  19. iMeowbot macrumors G3

    iMeowbot

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    #19
    Yes, this is maybe a bit nitpicky, but I see this all the time and...

    There's no question on the facts. Any time one class of people is treated differently from another, it's discrimination.

    What the courts have to work out is whether or not this instance of discrimination is okay.

    Our laws openly deny various rights from children, convicted felons, people from out of town/state/country, and other classes, just because of who those people are. There are good justifications for most of those forms of discrimination, but surely there are some people in each of those classes to whom the discrimination ideally would not apply. The broader brush is though to be more fair in those instances -- not necessarily fair to those individual, but to the public overall.

    And that there would be what the court would have to decide, whether the public at large would be harmed if those of us who fall in love with someone whose plumbing fixtures resemble our own want to make it official.
     
  20. AMDMACMAN macrumors newbie

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    #21
    I personally am for same sex unions. Not marriages. I would be in favor of an amendment banning marraige for gays. I do not think the majority of the people in the US want something like to this to be legal.
    Now before anyone attacks me for having an apposing opinion, which happens alot around here, I respect gay/lesbian/bi or whatever sexual orientation people choose. I dont find samesex partnerships(or what ever they are called) to be offensive. I just feel that marriage is more of a religious union that a civil one.

    If people want to fight over discrimination i will grant that gays should be given equal protection under the law, just call it something other than marraige so middle america doesnt have to go through a constitutional debate over the use of the word marraige.
     
  21. iMeowbot macrumors G3

    iMeowbot

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    #22
    Here's the latest text under discussion in the Massachusetts constitutional convention (this is a snapshot; they haven't even finished beginning yet):

    So here we have proposed law saying that two different things are entirely the same.

    The Hatter opened his eyes very wide on hearing this; but all he SAID was, `Why is a raven like a writing-desk?'

    `Come, we shall have some fun now!' thought Alice. `I'm glad they've begun asking riddles.--I believe I can guess that,' she added aloud.

    `Do you mean that you think you can find out the answer to it?' said the March Hare.

    `Exactly so,' said Alice.

    `Then you should say what you mean,' the March Hare went on.

    `I do,' Alice hastily replied; `at least--at least I mean what I say--that's the same thing, you know.'

    `Not the same thing a bit!' said the Hatter. `You might just as well say that "I see what I eat" is the same thing as "I eat what I see"!'

    `You might just as well say,' added the March Hare, `that "I like what I get" is the same thing as "I get what I like"!'

    `You might just as well say,' added the Dormouse, who seemed to be talking in his sleep, `that "I breathe when I sleep" is the same thing as "I sleep when I breathe"!'

    `It IS the same thing with you,' said the Hatter, and here the conversation dropped, and the party sat silent for a minute, while Alice thought over all she could remember about ravens and writing-desks, which wasn't much.
     
  22. vniow macrumors G4

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    #23
    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!
     
  23. Neserk macrumors 6502a

    Neserk

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    #24
    :rolleyes: Kerry's stance is different than Bush's. Kerry wants to allow Civil Unions. Bush does not.

    Get used to the idea that there will be Gay Marriages. It is just a matter of time. And this act of civil disobedience may just be what makes it sooner :D

    Tradition is the absolute *worst* argument there is for anything! That make as much sense "as everyone else is doing it* (whine).

    Marriage is not a privilege. How do you figure? It *is* a right, a right that is given to all people 18 and older. To deny someone the right to marry a consenting adult is what is malarky.

    That is my 2 million dollars worth! :p
     
  24. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #25
    Neserk say what you may but this will be defined more clearly for those who dont grasp this concept of man & wife=marriage and pushing for gay marriage isnt going to get anyone elected. Just to listen to Kerry's tune now:eek:
     

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