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San Francisco Gay Marriage Advocates Protest City Hall On Valentine's Day

First Posted: 02/14/2012 8:14 pm Updated: 03/27/2012 1:22 am

Gay Marriage San Francisco

Flowers are always nice. And substantial jewelry or securing a 7:15 reso at Flour + Water might guarantee at least a month of passion. But for our money, being detained for protesting of your inability to marry your sweetheart might be the most sincere display of devotion we've heard yet.

On Valentine's Day, at least eight same-sex marriage advocates were detained for staging a sit-in at the San Francisco County Clerks Office, protesting marriage inequality, according to SF Appeal.

The protest has become an annual event since 1999, and advocates continued the tradition on Tuesday. According to KTVU, about 30 people gathered outside of City Hall, holding signs reading, "We all deserve the freedom to marry." One was written on a Valentine heart.

About half of the group then proceeded into the building, singing along with an accompanying guitarist and the Oakland Gay Men's Chorus. According to SF Appeal, once sheriff's deputies arrived, eight were detained for refusing to disperse.

According to the Guardian UK, similar protests occurred around the country. The Guardian reported on one such couple in Austin, Texas. "It's very frustrating," said Austin's Tiffani Bishop. "Even little things. I was sick a couple of months ago and was thinking, 'Well what if I have to go to the hospital? She can't come and see me.' Legally we are strangers."

One San Francisco couple, Stuart Gaffney and John Lewis, was legally married in 2008 before the Proposition 8 ban, but, according to the Guardian, still makes the trip to City Hall every Valentine's Day. "Instead, we thank the clerk," said Gaffney. "We go up and present flowers, because we know firsthand that she'd marry us if she could," he said. "Because she did -- she married us in 2008."

California came one step closer to finally legalizing same-sex marriage one week before Valentine's Day when the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals deemed the voter-approved Proposition 8 -- a ban on same-sex marriage -- unconstitutional. The court ruled 2-1 in favor of overturning the ban, saying that it served no purpose other than to "lessen the status and human dignity" of the LGBT community.

"It's good news," said Reverend Dr. William Knight of Metropolitan Community Church of San Francisco, an LGBT-friendly parish, to The Huffington Post. "We're fortunate that our state is moving in the direction of honoring love instead of demonizing love."

However, while the decision was a victorious battle, same-sex marriage supporters are still deep in the war. The Associated Press reported:

The ruling will not take effect until the deadline passes in two weeks for Proposition 8's backers to appeal to a larger panel of the 9th Circuit. Lawyers for the coalition of conservative religious groups that sponsored the measure said they have not decided if they will seek a 9th Circuit rehearing or file an appeal directly to the Supreme Court.

It has been an especially busy week for marriage equality, as Washington State officially became the seventh state to legalize same-sex marriage on Monday.

"I'm proud our same-sex couples will no longer be treated as separate but equal," said Governor Chris Gregoire.

According to the Associated Press, opponents in Washington filed a referendum that same afternoon. Should they collect more than 120,577 valid voter signatures, the law will be put on hold pending a November vote.

But Seattle resident Bret Tiderman told the Associated Press that the probable fight ahead wouldn't spoil the current celebration. "You have to relish this moment."

Check out photos of San Franciscans celebrating Proposition 8's overturn last week:


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Filed by Robin Wilkey  |