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San Francisco Opens Marriage to Gay Couples
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post - Washington, D.C.
Subjects: Rites & ceremonies; Weddings; Same sex marriage; Gay rights movement
Author: Joe Dignan and Rene Sanchez
Date: Feb 13, 2004
Start Page: A.01
Section: A SECTION

In Massachusetts, opponents of gay marriage were attempting to enact a constitutional amendment to overturn a state Supreme Court decision allowing gays to marry. Earlier this week, aides indicated that President Bush would soon endorse a constitutional amendment that would define marriage solely as a union between a man and a woman. On Thursday, the Virginia House of Delegates gave preliminary approval to legislation that would ban the recognition of same-sex civil unions and domestic partnerships.

[Gavin Newsom] sent a letter Tuesday to the San Francisco County clerk's office asking that the documents local couples fill out to obtain marriage licenses be changed in all ways necessary to allow gay or lesbian couple to be legally wed. Upon hearing that opponents of the move were planning to seek a court injunction against it as early as Friday, his administration rushed in to make the changes in times for ceremonies to be held Thursday and alerted a few gay rights groups, which in turn notified prospective couples.

[Del Martin] and Lyons, the first gay couple to be wed, were asked to participate in the first ceremony because of their local stature. They have been prominent activists for gay rights in San Francisco for decades and founded one of the country's first gay advocacy groups. But other couples hurried to City Hall after hearing news reports or receiving e-mails about the event. City officials married some of them inside the assessor's office and others in the middle of the building's grand rotunda.

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