Personal accounts from people who took advantage of the brief moment when San Francisco gave its blessing to same-sex marriages, gathered by editor/participant Dumesnil.
“Love is love,” writes one 18-year-old activist, and the city government agreed on Feb. 12, 2004, when it saw fit to begin wedding gays and lesbians. (The community’s outrage over George W. Bush’s State of the Union address, which included the suggestion of a Constitutional amendment outlawing same-sex marriage, played a role as well.) More than 30 of those involved testify here to their religious and political views, celebrating the month-long opportunity to partake in the act of marriage. There are some great first lines (“I was pregnant when my wife Tracie and I got married”), and all the contributions have a lovely, soft everydayness as they explain who these couples are and trace the histories of their relationships. Most of those who chose to avail themselves of the marriage window were involved in long-term partnerships; many had already enacted their own form of marriage; none needed sanction from a civil authority to attest to their affection. “We first moved in together into an apartment in the Castro (way before it went gay) on Valentine’s Day in 1953,” write Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin, the first to make their vows on Feb. 12 and one of two couples included in this text who have been together for more than half a century. Yet those whose bond is of shorter duration evince no less fire. When the California Supreme Court nullified the marriages six months later, no one’s passion was extinguished, but political hackles were raised anew. “Justly married,” read a placard in the post-euphoria days. “What if they stopped your wedding?”
Moving, big-hearted affirmations of everyone’s right to marriage.