I’m so glad I made it over to City Hall last night to watch the first same-sex marriages in Oakland take place. As V Smoothe describes, the council chambers were completely packed. Everyone seemed to be represented – young, old, of every race and gender, mothers, fathers, single people, couples, children, public officials, activists, friends. Everyone was smiling. And I mean ear to ear smiles. So much clapping and shouting. Tears and laughter.
It was so nice to be welcomed into City Hall by Rebecca Kaplan and to congratulate her on her win. Soon after entering the chambers, she introduced me to V Smoothe and I got a chance to talk to her and Sean Sullivan about medical marijuana in Oakland (which made me realize I need to write something here explaining medical marijuana politics in this city). My co-worker and I also got to chat with a woman who’s friends were about to get married.
The evening was altogether surreal. The ceremonies were delayed for about 45 minutes so I only was able to stick around for a few of the weddings, but the wait was worth it. Being there energized me and made me feel really good about the community I live in. Seeing all the female couples walking down the aisle (only a few were male) reminded me that Oakland has the highest number of female couples per capita of any US city. It reminded me that me and my girlfriend are welcome here.
Though my partner could not make it out to the festivities with me, I was thinking of her the entire time. This past month has been really transformative for us. The Supreme Court ruling and the marriages yesterday have altered the way we think and talk about our future. I’ve been a bit surprised by how important the change in laws and discourse has been to us (something Julia Rosen discussed today over at Calitics).
We’re not planning to get married anytime soon, but last night was the first time we’ve ever talked about where great honeymoon spots would be, why we could never get married at Burning Man, and silly things like that. It’s finally a real option. I had this realization a month ago, but it hit me again last night. When I got home from City Hall I practically collapsed crying in my girlfriend’s arms telling her how much I loved her and that now our city and our state would recognize our love.
Thanks to Mayor Dellums, who officiated over the weddings, along with Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Council Member Jean Quan. I’ve rarely been so proud of this city as I was last night.