San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newson helped
launch a pro-gay marriage campaign in San Francisco Saturday, reports
local CBS affiliate KCBS. The campaign against California's
Proposition 8 – the ballot initiative seeking to constitutionally
ban gay marriage in California – is being spearheaded by a
coalition of nearly sixty gay, civil rights, faith and labor groups
called No on 8, Equality for All.
Gavin Newson is often credited with
opening gay marriage in California.
In 2004, Newsom ordered city hall
clerks to marry gay and lesbian couples against state law. Several
thousand gay couples were married during the “winter of love,”
but eventually the California Supreme Court ordered the city to stop
and invalidated all the marriages.
The city, along with gay groups and
individuals, sued the State of California. The court sided with
Newsom, and in May struck down the 2000 law that banned gay marriage.
“If we succeed, we will not only
change history in California, we will change the tone and tenor of
this debate, not only across America, but the rest of the world,”
Newsom said at the event.
Newsom, who is riding a political
windfall for his gay marriage stance and has expressed interest in
running for Governor, was recently asked if his deep involvement with
gay rights would hold him back as a state-wide candidate.
“This [campaigning against Prop 8] is
not going to help me politically; I'm not naïve to that. ...
It's about my convictions; it's about my ability to sleep at night
and reconcile the fact that we're running the 90 yard dash on gay and
lesbian rights,” Newsom told Ray Suarez for the PBS program The
Newshour Insider Forum. “And if you believe fundamentally that
people should have rights that are of the same sex, but you're not
willing to extend them equal rights, then what is it about that point
of view that distinguishes it from your point of view about civil
rights for people based on race or ethnicity? What is inherently
more significant about someone and their rights that happens to be of
a different race that should not be extended equally to someone who
may have a different sexual orientation?”
Also attending the pro-gay event was
Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums, who told a cheering crowd: “We are who
we are, and this country's got to get over it. People who chose to
marry whom they chose are here. It's our right, and that is
something that we will never retreat from.”
Meanwhile, Catholic bishops in
California have officially endorsed Proposition 8, joining the Mormon
church, whose leaders also support banning gay marriage in the Golden
On the net: The No on 8, Equality for
All website is at www.noonprop8.com