Kate Kendell

Paper and Clocks: Reflecting on the First Anniversary of California's Marriages

Filed By Kate Kendell | June 16, 2009 6:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, The Movement
Tags: California, Del Martin, gay marriage, marriage equality, paper gifts, Phyllis Lyon, Prop 8, same-sex marriage

Some interesting trivia (courtesy of Wikipedia and About.com):

  • Paper is the traditional gift to celebrate a first year wedding anniversary, with clocks being the modern twist.
  • In the United Kingdom, couples celebrating their 60th, 65th, or 70th anniversary can receive a celebratory message from the monarch simply by applying at Buckingham Palace.
  • In Canada, you can receive a message from the Governor General to celebrate your 50th or 55th wedding anniversary.
  • And in the United States, a couple is eligible for an anniversary greeting from the President for any anniversary on or after the 50th.

This time last year, on the afternoon of June 16, 2008, I stood inside the mayor's office in San Francisco City Hall and witnessed history. I watched two of the most extraordinary women in my life affirm their love and relationship. I cried as Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin exchanged vows-a moment that feels like it was both only yesterday and many lifetimes ago.

All of us who were close to Phyllis and Del took great comfort in the fact that they were legally married when Del passed away just six weeks after their wedding. Del and Phyllis had been together for 55 years, and in my eyes-and in the eyes of our movement-they were entitled to an anniversary greeting from the President. Their relationship and love should be celebrated and honored as it well deserved to be, just as all same-sex couples should be treated equally.

We will continue to work for the right of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender couples to marry, just as we work for a workplace free from discrimination, for safe school hallways, for our right to live free from violence. As we move ahead with our work, let's arm ourselves with first anniversary gifts: paper and clocks. Paper to write President Obama and demand that he keep his campaign promises:

"Americans are yearning for leadership that can empower us to reach for what we know is possible. I believe that we can achieve the goal of full equality for the millions of LGBT people in this country. To do that, we need leadership that can appeal to the best parts of the human spirit. Join with me, and I will provide that leadership. Together, we will achieve real equality for all Americans, gay and straight alike."

And clocks because the clock is ticking.

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