Lest you think that it’s only those wacky San Franciscans and homosexuals who were feeling the joy at City Hall today, I think I better pass on a few stories of the day.
Couples came from all over the United States. Most of the approximately 175 (the news reported 133 weddings but I think that wasn’t a final count given who gave me the 175 number) people who were wed today had been waiting since 6am or before. The remainder of the line at 4pm were given appointments for their weddings so they won’t have to keep coming every day and hoping to be one of the lucky pairs. Despite long hours of travel, getting up in the wee hours, braving annoying small-minded homophobic idiots (who were noisy though heavily out-numbered) and waiting for 10 hours in narrow claustrophobia-inducing hallways in the basement (where the line was moved to spare them from harrassment), spirits were high, smiles were everywhere and most people were making friends with everyone in line around them.
Some couples were there on their own, some had children and parents with them. I think I even saw some grandparents there for their grandchildren’s wedding. And definitely some grandparents finally getting the chance to wed. There was support everywhere along the line; people helping each other out all day long. There were great volunteers, gay and straight. A woman who’d been wed on Saturday and came back to help. A straight man who said that if the weddings were continuing over the weekend, he’d be there to help if needed. A few people who just wandered in to see what it was all about and ended up helping. All day there was a constant stream of people who came to show support with little gifts for the couples: desserts, chocolates, children’s books, and flowers flowers flowers.
Those who couldn’t be there in person to show support ordered deliveries. The bouquets kept coming and every couple had beautiful flowers to hold during their ceremonies. Some bouquets saw service in multiple weddings as those newlyweds passed on their good wishes to others in line. What was most wonderful were the cards that came with the bouquets; blessings on the new marriages from all around the country. One man I spoke with grinned broadly as he showed me the lovely flowers he received from Houston, Texas.
The very best story, though, is this. When I was helping watch people’s coats & bags during their ceremonies, I was right at the area where they wait for an officiant to marry them and that’s where we had the bouquets waiting for those who needed them. A delivery man arrived with a 3 foot long gold box. Long stem red roses for delivery to “Random Couple”. I signed for the delivery (I think channel 2 filmed it, actually) and pledged to the other folks volunteering in that area that we’d give them to the next couple who’d travelled a long way to be there and needed a bouquet. Well, just a few minutes later, two women around my age or a bit older came around the corner with their license, ready to be married. They had driven up from Santa Barbara and had no witness, no fancy wedding clothes and one of them was holding a few loose roses which someone had given her in line. I handed them the big gold box and they opened the card to discover that the lovely flowers were a gift from someone in Alaska. They were married on the steps in the rotunda of that wonderful building. I don’t remember if theirs was one of the weddings my friend Kevin Smokler witnessed, but we all applauded them and gave them hugs when they came back for their coats.
About that time we finally asked a young guy who’d been hanging around watching and smiling bigger and bigger with every couple who came through if he wanted to help volunteer. He said he would and we found out his name was Amir and he was visiting from Israel! After a little while who showed up to volunteer but the couple from Santa Barbara and while one of them served as a witness for another couple’s ceremony, her wife, Kevin and Amir went out and bought water and cups and started serving everyone in the long, long line.
Everywhere smiles, everywhere love, everywhere kindness. This is a beautiful revolution. Join it. Ask your mayor to follow San Francisco’s lead. This harms no one and makes the world a better, gentler, sweeter place.
And this just in from the bottom of a news story on SFgate:
after watching TV images of the weddings, the symbolic ruler of Cambodia, King Norodom Sihanouk, said Friday that homosexual couples should be allowed to get married.
Well, I just went and watched the video on demand on KPIX channel 2’s website and they’re doing the usual news media thing of focusing on the noisy controversial part instead of the other 99% of what was going on in San Francisco city hall today. They have headlines like “Vocal protestors fill city hall” when the story itself is about a dozen or so guys who sang religious songs and shouted inside for a few minutes in the morning before being asked to disperse and they did. By the time I got there in the 11 o’clock hour only a handful of them remained outside where they were outnumbered by people supporting same-sex marriage.
I was on the main level of San Francisco city hall from about noon until a bit after 5pm today. For about half that time I was actually in the main rotunda area next to the entrance. I did not hear a single negative remark or see any anti-gay signage inside the building in that entire time. I wish KPIX would focus on the 1000+ happy people instead of the 15 or so hateful ones.