San Francisco Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary of Marriage Equality

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    NEWSLETTERS

    San Francisco today is celebrating the 10-year anniversary of its "Winter of Love," when former Mayor Gavin Newsom ordered the county clerk's office to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. (Published Wednesday, Feb 12, 2014)

    San Francisco on Wednesday celebrated the 10-year anniversary of its "Winter of Love," when former Mayor Gavin Newsom ordered the county clerk's office to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

    Newsom, now the state's lieutenant governor, joined current Mayor Ed Lee for a celebration at City Hall to mark the occasion.

    Newsom issued his directive on Feb. 12, 2004, prompting thousands of gay and lesbian couples to come to City Hall to get married.

    MORE: Timeline: Same-Sex Marriage in California

    The marriages were later annulled by the California Supreme Court, and years of court battles followed over the right of same-sex couples to wed.

    Same-sex marriage was briefly legalized again by the state Supreme Court in 2008 before California voters passed Proposition 8 later that year, barring such unions.

    Last June, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling on a constitutional challenge to Proposition 8 and the judges left in place a lower court ruling striking down the ban. Same-sex marriage is now legal in California.

    In addition to this evening's event, same-sex couples and their supporters gathered in the City Hall Rotunda and walked to the county clerk's office to thank its workers for standing up for their right to marry.

    Ruby Guizar and Myra Fierro traveled to San Francisco from Dallas to get married on Wednesday.

    “We’re here to be joined together for the rest of our lives and we are here being a part of something bigger than us … it’s amazing.” Fierro told NBC Bay Area.

    Shelly Bailes and Ellen Pontac were married ten years ago today.

    They told NBC Bay Area that watching same sex couples get married now was a very special experience for them.

    “We’ve been together for 30 years ... We raised our family together but to come here to actually get married … to have that feeling was unlike anything else,” Pontac said.

    MORE: Prop 8 Supporters Ask Calif. Supreme Court to Stop Same-Sex Weddings

    Newsom has partnered with groups including the Human Rights Campaign, Marriage Equality USA, Equality California, the Courage Campaign and the National Center for Lesbian Rights to create a Pinterest board for same-sex couples to share their memories of the 2004 weddings.

    The GLBT History Museum in the city's Castro District is marking the day with an exhibit featuring the wedding pantsuits worn by longtime activists Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, who were the first couple to wed after Newsom's 2004 directive.

    The GLBT History Museum is open on Mondays, and Wednesdays through Saturdays, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.