After learning that New York had legalized same-sex marriage Friday, Miguel Gutierrez had to change his outfit for San Francisco Pride.
In addition to his rainbow beads and gold construction hat, Gutierrez created a 3-foot-tall Statue of Liberty that could open its robe to reveal a doll dressed in bondage next to a sign reading “Liberty is Marriage.”
“I hope this makes other states be more accepting,” the 64-year-old San Franciscan said of the news from New York. “New England states, Spain and Canada already allow it. I don’t see why we don’t.”
Gutierrez was among thousands of revelers on Market Street on Sunday for the 41st annual Pride celebration.
Although spirits were high here, many revelers seemed to realize that New York had momentarily supplanted San Francisco as the vanguard of gay civil rights.
New York was the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage. Such nuptials were briefly legal in California in 2008 until voters approved Proposition 8, which restricted marriage to a union between a man and a woman. Former U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled last year that the measure is unconstitutional, but his ruling has been appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Marie Benedetto, 68, called New York’s legislation “remarkable.”
“I’m always surprised when justice is served,” Benedetto said. “But it’s also remarkable that on occasion we can rise and continue a momentum.”
Benedetto sat with nearly two dozen members of City Streets, a lesbian social group, to celebrate Pride. The group cornered a portion of Market Street at Third Street surrounded with food, lawn chairs and rainbow flags. The group was busy celebrating the parade just three feet away, but also celebrating one more location in the world where same-sex couples could wed.
She and her group were some of the more reserved Pride participants. Celebrants all around them decked themselves out in glitter, neon and rainbows.
Xochiltl Ramos, 21, of Los Angeles wore bright-purple and pink and had an “I love New York” phrase painted on her cheek. Although this was her first Pride event, she said, the vibe, the people and the civil rights movement’s latest accomplishment was something to celebrate.
“The conversations around gay rights are very robust,” she said. “This is a great time to stand in solidarity and stand up for everyone’s rights.”
Performers at Pride’s official celebration in Civic Center Plaza also made note of New York’s legislation. In between songs, performer Kat Graham told the crowd of thousands that New York’s approval is meaningful. “California is next,” she said.
New York’s same-sex marriage law was the talk of Pride:
“I was surprised California didn’t do it first. We should be more progressive, but we’re not.” — Kate Meyer, 22, S.F.
“I think it’s awesome. I wish California would hurry up and legalize it.” — Lacey Mukle, 16, Santa Rosa
“It’s awesome. It’s a step in the right direction.” — Jon Ellsstrom, 33, S.F.