Ten years ago today, the first day of San Francisco's "Winter of Love," I was attending a freedom-to-marry rally on the City Hall steps when I was astonished to learn that San Francisco had just opened the door of marriage for all. Afraid a court might close that door at any moment, I phoned my partner of 17 years, Stuart, and in what he describes as the most urgent wedding proposal ever, yelled, "Get here now!!" He dashed to City Hall, we bolted through the front door, and a half hour later, exchanged vows.
The words "by virtue of the authority vested in me by the State of California, I now pronounce you spouses for life," transformed us. For the first time our government treated us as fully equal and recognized us as a loving couple worthy of the law's full respect. Through chills and tears I said to Stuart, "this is what it feels like to be equal."
Although the California Supreme Court later declared our marriage and thousands others "null and void," a revolution for love and recognition of our common humanity had been ignited.
And the equality we tasted that day sustained us through the ups and downs of the next 10 years.
The government of San Francisco, led by then-Mayor Gavin Newsom, took a huge risk for LGBT people. We had never experienced this before. San Francisco's principled stand for our rights set an example and connected us to the broader community. We now belonged.