Saturday, March 12, 2005

On our marriage in SF

Lesbian and Gay Wedding Bells in San Francisco note: ( marriage described below was voided along with the 4,000 or more marriages Spring of 2005 by California Supreme Court)
by Sharon Raphael

On February 15, 2004, my partner of 33 years, Mina Meyer and I were married in the

historic chambers of The Board of Supervisors at City Hall in San Francisco. We were

pronounced “Spouses for Life” by Supervisor Bevan Dufty, the Supervisor who

is now sitting in the former seat of the first Gay Supervisor Harvey Milk and present U.S.

Senator Diane Feinstein. Two days earlier, Mina and I had received several phone calls

from friends who were waiting in the long lines in front of SF City Hall to be married.

It had not dawned on us until after the phone calls that the two of us, residents of Long

Beach, Ca. could join the lines to get married like our friends were doing.

That Sunday we boarded a plane around 7 am with two friends of ours who also wanted to

to get married and headed for the City by the Bay. We landed in Oakland, got in a taxi and

sped to our destination, the grounds of SF City Hall where a long line had already formed.

There were all kind of gay couples in line, those with small children, some with infants, some

who were disabled, some were older couples, some younger couples, mixed race

couples, couple of all races and and many ethnicities. When it rained briefly, some people

got their umbrellas out or dashed to their cars for raingear if they happened to be parked

close by.

People were friendly and as we waited in line, it became obvious to all involved that

not every one could be married that day. People who already had been given tickets

from the day before were told to go in one line and those of us without tickets were

in another line that wound toward the back door of City Hall. Several times the people

in line were told that most of us would not be able to get in to be married that day and

our spirits sank and our hopes kept going up and down depending on how we felt about


our places in line. Eventually large numbers left the line giving us a chance to move up the

line. Suddenly around 3 pm in the afternoon the Mayor’s liaison came out and told

people where we stood that up to a certain person in line, the woman with the flowered

hat, that we would be married today. Those of us who were standing in front of her

cheered. Those behind her in line who did not make it were upset . They were told to

come back the next day. We had been there most of the day waiting for the great

moment to happen. We heard those who had been denied entrance arguing politely as

we climbed the steps and began to enter the palatial building. Once inside we were

warmly greeted by the staff and slowly wended our way to different offices where we filled

out forms and then gave further information which then was entered by an industrious clerk

into the computers.

People working at City Hall on this Sunday were volunteering their time, unpaid, to come in

on their day off to help. Many of the staff told us they had been married on Friday

and were more than willing and delighted to help us but you could tell they were getting

exhausted from their extraordinary efforts. At this writing, over 3500 couples (3/1/04)

have been married in City Hall in SF.

After all the paperwork was completed and checked several times, Mina and I were

escorted into the main room. Set in the middle of the room was a foyer with a grand

staircase where six couples were being married by various volunteers who had the

right to marry people. We were told we could choose a volunteer who would marry us.

While deciding, the person in charge, asked us and our two friends, if we would like

to have our marriage filmed by a local news crew from CBS. We were told a member


of The Board of Supervisors, Bevan Dufty, would marry us in the Chambers of The Board

Supervisors. We agreed and were escorted to the Chambers. It was a very lovely

ceremony lasting about six minutes and the Supervisor who is an “out” Gay person

spoke of the importance of our commitment and love and had us exhange our vows and

rings. After congratulations were said by all around us, Mina and I found ourselves to be

the last two people leaving the building. When we walked outside, the people standing

below cheered. It was quite exhilarating. We were the last in the group to be married that

day. Of course, the marriage procession continues on in SF and other various cities and

towns across the country. We are proud to be among the first group of Lesbians and Gays

to be legally married in a civil ceremony in this country. The legality of our marriage is being

contested along with all the other marriages performed but for now our marriage stands as a

testament to the wisdom and courage of Kevin Newsom, The Mayor of San Francisco,

and his supporters who stand with him in this incredibly important stand for equal rights.

Since Mina and I have lived together for 33 years, this marriage does not change our

feelings for each other or the way we are living our lives but it has boosted our morale a lot.

Well wishers from everywhere seem to be contacting us every day. We are hoping that

our marriage remains legal because if it does the legality of marriage can have an enormous

positive impact on our security in later life. There are many advantages to marriage that are

denied non-married people. To find out more about why legal marriage is important for

Lesbian and Gay people, see the following.

Did you know that there are 1,047 laws that favor heterosexually married couples that Lesbian and Gay couples are denied? For information, go to Make It Legal. htm.

Sharon Raphael is a Professor of Sociology and Coordinator of the Master’s Degree BSGP Option in Gerontology which will moved to the new College of Health and Human Services Fall, 2004. Sharon and her spouse, Mina Meyer, have been activists in the Los
Angeles Lesbian and Gay Movement since 1971. Both have conducted research and published extensively on the topic of Lesbian and Gay aging.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Left Turn on Rights: Older Lesbian Speaks

Left Turn on Rights: Older
Lesbian Speaks


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

First Post "On L Word"

I like the L Word show and the characters are compelling although the producer seems think she has to cater to viewers who are drawn to sexy looking women (probably straight men)in order to sstay on the air (this may be true) and features characters who are all relatively young (late twenties to late thirties. I suggest the show get more real and include one or two older lesbian types who can add a more real age dimension to the show. Doing this would help erase the mistaken notion that after a certain age lesbians disappear altogether or become invisible. Like straight people we age too, some with verve and grace and some with health issues and probelms that result from lack of marriage equallity and lack of other same sex rights. We come in all forms and varieties, racae, relligions, and ages.

First Post


First E