Court Ruling Praised, but Not by Everyone

Operation Marriage

by Bill Silverfarb
The San Mateo Daily Journal
June 27th, 2013

The Supreme Court’s ruling on Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act was much welcome news for local marriage-equality advocates but many said the ruling did not go far enough and other non-supporters blasted the ruling outright.

The Rev. Terri Echelbarger with the Peninsula Metropolitan Community Church in San Mateo has a large congregation of gays and lesbians, many who attended an early evening rally in Redwood City yesterday to celebrate the ruling.

“This is an awesome day for California and the other 12 states that recognize same-sex marriage. It’s one more step for equality, we can celebrate. And, there are still 37 states that treat its gay and lesbian citizens as unequal citizens,” Echelbarger wrote the Daily Journal in an email before yesterday’s rally. “God does not discriminate but our nation still does?”

While the San Francisco Bay Area may have some of the most welcoming churches for gays and lesbians anywhere in the world, not all clergy in the area appreciated yesterday’s ruling, however.

Pastor Brad Allen with the Victory International Church in San Mateo is one of them.

“I worked on the Proposition 8 campaign and am disappointed that a lawful and democratically enacted law was struck down as a ‘burden’ on the most affluent and best educated subset of the American population. This group already, and quite appropriately, enjoys all of the same anti-discrimination laws that protect every other group,” Allen wrote the Daily Journal in an email.

Allen thinks the ruling is strongly inflationary and will drive up the cost for all goods and services because businesses will have increased costs for additional spousal benefits.

But the biggest issue, he said, is adoption.

“All statistics show that children do best raised by their biological parents. Adopted kids do best when raised by parents of opposite sex. Kids being adopted into gay families will suffer the most,” Allen wrote in the email.

Married couple Derrick Kikuchi and Craig Wiesner, from San Mateo, published a children’s picture book titled “Operation Marriage” that tells the true story of a family with two kids who convince their mothers to get married during that brief window when it was legal.

It was based on a true story and shows the impact Proposition 8 had on the family and how the parents persevered, Wiesner said yesterday.

Kikuchi and Wiesner were married in their church more than 20 years ago and then married again legally almost 15 years later when same-sex marriage was briefly allowed in the state for less than five months before the passage of Proposition 8, Nov. 5, 2008. Proposition 8 was a voter-approved ballot measure that defined marriage as being between a man and a woman.

Although many homosexuals in the state took advantage of that brief window, many did not, Wiesner told the Daily Journal yesterday.

“It was the people who were locked out that we were most concerned about,” Wiesner said about those couples unable to legally marry. About 18,000 same-sex couples married in 2008.

Assemblyman Rich Gordon, D-Menlo Park, married his husband, Dr. Dennis McShane, in 2008 and they have been a couple for roughly 30 years. He is also the state’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Caucus chair.

“In 2008, I had the privilege of marrying my partner of 26 years. This was one of the greatest days of my life, as we were finally able to stand together and say, in front of our friends, family and loved ones, ‘we are a family.’ This is an experience that many loving couples have been unjustly denied until now. We are not just a gay couple; we are two individuals who are deeply in love,” Gordon wrote in a statement after the court ruling was announced.

In San Mateo County, same-sex marriage licenses will be issued as soon as the injunction against Proposition 8 is lifted by the Ninth Federal Circuit Court, about 30 days, Mark Church, the county’s chief elections officer and assessor-county clerk-recorder wrote the Daily Journal in an email.

Proposition 8 was put on the ballot five months after the state Supreme Court legalized gay marriage and four years after then San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom ordered the county clerk to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The state Supreme Court annulled the marriages, however, in August 2004.

People filled the streets of San Francisco for a good part of the day yesterday near the Civic Center plaza celebrating the decision and the city’s travel association contends it will bring even more tourists to the area.

“San Francisco is where marriage equality began in 2004 and, through the legal ups and downs, we have been a beloved location for weddings, commitment ceremonies and honeymoons ever since,” Joe D’Alessandro, president and of the San Francisco Travel Association wrote in a statement. “San Francisco looks forward to hosting weddings and celebrations for all loving couples.”

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