In what has been deemed a unique act of civil disobedience, the city of San Francisco began issuing marriage certificates to gay couples on Feb. 12.
Some of the people who took part in the ceremonies were UCI’s own director of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center and Assistant Dean of Students Pat Walsh, psychologist Chris Browning from the UCI Counseling Center and sociology professor Eric Anderson.
Although gay marriage is not legal anywhere in the United States, under order from the newly-elected San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, marriage licenses to same-sex couples were distributed during short ceremonies which took place in the city hall.
Newsom charged that state law defining marriage as only between a man and a woman is unconstitutional discrimination against gays and lesbians.
Many of those who participated in the ceremonies were from other states as well as outside the U.S.
Anderson, who has been a professor of sociology at UCI for six years, believes this chapter of American history has been a way for gays to ‘get their foot in the door.’
‘This door is not going to close. We will have gay marriage now and in the future,’ Anderson said.
Opponents of gay marriage went to court the first day licenses were being issued, asking judges to stop the city from issuing them and to void the ones they had already granted.
On Feb. 20, they were unsuccessful even as Gov. Schwarzenegger announced that the licenses are now illegal.
‘The marriage certificates submitted to the Department of Health Services by the city and county of San Francisco fail to meet legal standards,’ Schwarzenegger said in a statement on his Web site. ‘California citizens generated, and passed, Proposition 22