Marriage equality was unheard of ten years ago when then-mayor of San Francisco Gavin Newsom ordered the City and County of San Francisco to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Even when told it is a bad political move, Newsom would not back down. At that time, gay couples could only wed in The Netherlands, Belgium, and two Canadian provinces. Today is the tenth anniversary of what came to be known as the Winter of Love.
It wasn't smooth sailing of course. There would be numerous court battles, a ballot proposition, legislative attempts, and finally late last year a Supreme Court ruling before same-sex marriage finally became legal for good in California, but it was Newsom who got the ball rolling. Same-sex couples can legally marry in sixteen states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington), the District of Columbia, and several Native American tribes, but there are those who will argue that it was Gavin Newsom's act ten years ago that brought us to the point we are at today. There is marriage equality now in numerous countries as well.
The first wedding was of LGBT icons and pioneers Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin. That marriage was ruled void but they were married again (with Newsom officiating) when a state court ruled it legal later on.
This afternoon there will be a gathering at the base of the Grand Staircase in the Rotunda of San Francisco City Hall and the events of ten years ago will be remembered. First, a group will proceed to the Clerk's office where in years past there has been a protest in the fight for marriage equality. This year though the group will thank the clerks for marrying so many. The City's official celebration of the 10-year Anniversary of the Winter of Love will then continue in the Rotunda through the evening with special thanks to Gavin Newsom.
Newsom, now California Lieutenant Governor, was not the only love warrior of course and other brave souls will be honored as well. The fight still goes on in so many places, but ten years ago things were set in motion by people who truly made a difference!