Same-sex marriage supporters filled San Francisco's City Hall rotunda to the brim Wednesday morning, erupting into cheers when the United States Supreme Court struck down Proposition 8.
"You know you're living in the right city when the police and fire chief are here at an event like this," Kate Kendell of the National Center for Lesbian Rights told an elated audience.
The City by the Bay has been considered the epicenter of the gay rights movement for decades. San Francisco may have swelled with pride today, but its role in the fight for equality will make us proud forever. Here are 13 reasons why:
1) Two words: Harvey Milk.
SF Supervisor Milk made history as the first openly gay elected official, spawning a movement that has yet to stop gaining momentum. Nearly 35 years after his tragic assassination, his legacy endures through countless tributes, including the city's annual Harvey Milk Day.
2) The iconic Castro flag.
It may be the subject of occasional controversy, but the rainbow banner flying high above the city's Castro district has long served as a symbol of celebrating equality in San Francisco.
3) Theresa Sparks' relentless fight for transgender rights.
Transgender activist and political leader Sparks has made quite a mark on San Francisco, serving as president of the police commission, running famed sex-positive business Good Vibrations and forming the Transgender Political Caucus, which advocates on behalf of transgender civil rights. She even ran for SF Supervisor in 2010.
4) The best pride weekend on earth.
Nobody does Pride like San Francisco does pride. The city transforms into a weekend-long bacchanal, the streets are bathed in glitter and rainbows and the parade makes other cities' marches look like a line at the ATM.
5) The world's first openly gay choir.
The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus nothing if not an institution. They're celebrating 35 years this season with the world premiere of their performance "I Am Harvey Milk."
6) Tom Ammiano's groundbreaking legislative efforts.
During his time representing San Francisco in the California State Assembly, Ammiano has championed legislation that would benefit HIV/AIDS victims, prevent bullying and provide opportunities for transgender students, and he's sponsored myriad initiatives geared toward the LGBT community. In the 1970s, he was the first San Francisco teacher to come out of the closet.
7) The landmark Castro Theatre.
The historic theatre brings film enthusiasts of all orientations to the Castro. It frequently features events geared toward the LGBT community, including the SF International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, and it hosted the star-studded world premiere of 2008's "Milk."
8) Hi-Tops, SF's official gay sports bar.
The photo of two gay 49ers fans kissing in Hi-Tops during the playoffs went viral, and the popular watering hole is quickly becoming a tourist destination.
9) The Miss Trannyshack pageant.
We can't get enough of the fabulous Heklina and her band of merry drag queens.
10) Bevan Dufty, the first LGBT political candidate to feature his child in a commercial.
San Francisco homeless czar and former supervisor Dufty released the first-ever campaign ad featuring an LGBT candidate's child when he ran for mayor in 2011. The commercial showed Dufty and his young daughter, Sidney, riding public transportation together.
11) San Francisco City Hall.
The political gathering place became the symbol of the fight for same-sex marriage when then-mayor Gavin Newsom ordered the city to start issuing marriage licenses to gay couples in 2004. Expect it to light up like a beautiful rainbow this week!
12) Dykes on bikes.
It may be an international movement now, but our favorite lesbian motorcycle club traces its roots to the 1976 San Francisco pride parade.
13) This guy dressed as the Statue of Liberty.
He's loud, he's proud, and he's the embodiment of the irreverence, free spirit and hilarity that makes San Francisco so special.
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