26 March 2008

Information on the 2004 San Francisco gay marriage

I've been writing down the key points of Sarah's revised story, which will now focus on her flight attendant stint. Several things have changed: Sarah will return to her duty at United Airlines when she is recalled from layoff, and her relationship with Kirsten will bloom much earlier.

In fact, the new timeline makes the San Francisco gay marriages of 2004 ripe material for the story, instead of waiting several more years and moving the marriage to Canada. This will work well, as the San Francisco gay marriages had little legal standing but a lot of publicity. Here are some facts I've dug up, courtesy of Wikipedia and other sources, about those marriages.
  • Gay marriage was banned through existing family laws in California, as well as a 2000 voter initiative heavily supported by Christians and Third World immigrants.
  • Marriage licenses were issued beginning on February 12, 2004, under the orders of Mayor Gavin Newsom, incensed over W's homophobic state of the union that year.
  • Newsom based his orders on the equal protection clause of the California state constitution.
  • Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered these marriages halted on February 20. Attorney General Bill Lockyer refused, even though he did not believe these marriages were legal.
  • The state supreme court halted issuance of new marriage licenses on March 11. By then, over 4,000 couples had tied the knot at San Francisco City Hall, including Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon (first couple to be married, and founders of Lyon-Martin Women's Health Services). Rosie O'Donnell joined too, and so did David Knight, son of the late State Senator Pete Knight who had written the gay marriage ban voter initiative.
  • The state supreme court voided these marriages on August 12, upon argument from Lockyer and other parties that they violated existing state laws.
Sarah and Kirsten will try again to be married after August 12, however, since court rulings in other states have decreed that a transgender person, even post-operative, is forever identified by his/her birth sex for the purposes of marriage. Pretty bad for a straight transwoman fighting for her husband's inheritance, but a blessing in disguise for pre-operative Sarah, who will legally be Kirsten's "husband." I see the wedding ceremony thrown in jeopardy, however, since I am throwing in Sarah's layoff right when the planning starts to gobble up money.

I hope this revision will give the story the drama it needs.

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