A lesbian couple who have been together five decades were the first to marry, followed by 89 other couples who said their vows in City Hall ceremonies. The cheers and yelps echoed throughout the building all day, as gays and lesbians who had expected to be refused wedding licenses during a planned National Freedom to Marry protest were instead married under the ornate City Hall rotunda. Several couples rushed to get married during their lunch hours after word spread that they could.
"A barrier to true justice has been removed,'' said Mayor Gavin Newsom, who argues that state law defining marriage as between a man and a woman amounts to unconstitutional discrimination against gays and lesbians.
Newsom had announced just three days ago that he wanted the city to explore ways to let same-sex couples marry. City officials rushed the policy into place when they got wind that groups opposed to gays and lesbians marrying were about to file suit to block Newsom's plan.
The Liberty Counsel, a legal-aid group acting on behalf of Campaign for California Families, plans to file suit today in state Superior Court in San Francisco to force the city to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples and to void those already granted. On Thursday, the city issued a total of 118 marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
So the state will rush to remind everyone of the 2000 voter-approved bill that forbids same-sex marriage, while SF will rush to remind them that the state constitution forbids discrimination in ANY form, and the feds will threaten them with the amendment.