As I sat in the chamber of the U.S. Supreme Court this morning, I took a moment to savor this final step in the long march towards justice. It is truly an emotionally staggering day.
When the city of San Francisco started on this journey in 2004, we were very aware that marrying same-sex couples would lead to litigation. We were also cognizant that we could have moved forward with a legal battle without challenging state law. But discrimination and inequality is as much about people as it is the law, and in marrying Phyllis Lyon and the late Del Martin, a loving committed couple of 50 years, we put a human face to marriage inequality.
The human faces – mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, grandchildren – have turned the cultural and political tide of this country. The monumental shift in public opinion during the last decade is a tribute to the hard work of LGBT activists and allies who continue to battle at the ballot box for equal treatment under the law – state-by-state, vote-by-vote. LGBT communities across this nation have won over individuals of all religious and political persuasions by rationally advancing that there is no basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of the basic rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution.
I salute Ted Olson, David Boies and the American Federation for Equal Rights as well as Dennis Herrera, Therese Stewart and the staff of San Francisco City Attorney’s Office for their tireless passion and staunch commitment as the fight maneuvered through the legal system. Olson’s pointed argument before the Justices of the Supreme Court was eloquent and persuasive, establishing a powerful narrative for equal treatment under law.
We are on the verge of the ultimate victory for same-sex couples. Now, as we patiently await the final verdict by the Supreme Court, I believe that a majority of justices will validate that those who yearn to live in loving, committed relationships can do so without the stain of discrimination.
A decision from the Supreme Court in Hollingsworth v. Perry is expected by the end of June 2013.