Sat Feb 2, 2013, 03:59 PM
DonViejo (8,555 posts)
Gavin Newsom allowed gay marriage in S.F., some Democrats blamed him for reelecting Bush
Gavin Newsom: We put a human face on same-sex marriage debate
When Gavin Newsom allowed gay marriage in S.F., some Democrats blamed him for reelecting Bush. He still remembers
BY DAVID DALEY
You took a lot of political heat in 2004 when you directed the San Francisco clerk’s office to issue marriage certificates for same-sex couples, even though that defied California state law. And a lot of that heat came from Democrats. There were people who blamed you for George W. Bush winning a second term, who argued that the sight of these gay marriages in San Francisco played into the sort of culture wars that Bush was all too eager to exploit. Do you feel vindicated by what has happened in the last eight years, and how quickly public opinion has changed?
I’ll leave the notion of vindication to more objective folks. But I’m certainly humbled, because I never anticipated — I really didn’t, I don’t know if I want to say in my lifetime, because it makes it into an exaggeration, but certainly in the immediate term — I never expected to have the kind of blooming we had in the last decade or so. You are right, the criticism wasn’t just from traditional opponents; it was from a lot of my friends condemning and criticizing and second-guessing what we did in 2004, and that was a bitter pill to swallow, reading the news reports of some very high-profile people that I respect and continue to respect.
After the 2004 election, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein famously called it “too much, too fast, too soon.” Barney Frank told the New York Times that with “spectacle weddings,” you “created a sense that there was chaos.”
(laughing) Yeah, so a lot of folks were critical. But what I think happened — and I hope even though they were concerned at the time, they would reflect back and note that we put a human face on the issue, and that was the intention. It was not to look on the issue of discrimination in the abstract, as a legal brief, but to put a face, a narrative, a story behind that, and to look at a couple – of course, the first couple we married was with intention and purpose — Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin, who had been together more than half a century. And they were the physical manifestation, from my perspective, of love and fate and devotion and constancy, what marriage should be all about. So those 4,000-plus couples from almost every state in the nation, from countries around the world, did, I think, an extraordinary amount for the movement.
Did you ever think that you had set the movement back, that you’d helped reelect Bush, or, as Sen. Feinstein said, pushed too fast, too soon?
When I think back, I think the most compelling thing that I reflect on is I have never — and perhaps I’ll be challenged with this — but personally I’ve not yet seen one image that has been exploited from that month of February. All of the traditional bias and clichés about the gay community and gay lifestyle, none of the images can be exploited to play into that frame of fear. What people saw, and the chief justice of the California Supreme Court all but acknowledged this — and ultimately became a principal player in what is now in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. He saw mothers and brothers and sisters and uncles and kids and grandkids, and that was what was so remarkable — how unremarkable it was. People realized it was about them — it’s about their neighbors, about their friends and family. It wasn’t just about “an abstract,” the gay community.
2 replies, 790 views
Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Gavin Newsom allowed gay marriage in S.F., some Democrats blamed him for reelecting Bush (Original post)
Response to DonViejo (Original post)
Sun Feb 3, 2013, 04:33 AM
RudynJack (1,044 posts)
1. I will be forever grateful
to Mayor Newsom. He was the right person in the right position at the right time to force the issue. I hope to see him replace Feinstein in the Senate.