Kathrynn, my partner of 10 years, and I got to San Francisco City Hall at 6am and there was already a tremendous line. People had camped out overnight! I estimated that we were couple number 200-350 - somewhere in there. And, we knew that they had set their sights to marry 460 couples. Knowing that, our moods shot up and with the rain pouring, we giggled and made many good friends under our umbrellas. 6am never seemed so civilized!
There were many wonderful people coming by with coffee and donuts, and plastic garbage bags, umbrellas, anything to help. By 10am my feet were totally drenched. A woman was passing out dry white cotton socks. What a kind gesture!! Finally we were directed into City Hall. We were couple number 327! There really are no words to express how professional, loving, comforting, and absolutely perfect the all-volunteer staff was. We were directed for the next two hours through the corridors of City Hall, being processed and encouraged the whole way with lots of applause. After we paid our fees and were handed our "stamped" papers, we proceeded to the rotunda to have our vows solemnized by a deputy of the City. With our wet clothes in our arms, along with our camping chair and crinkled paperwork, uncombed hair and big grins, we were greeted on the way by our wonder family: My two teenage nephews Trevor and Spencer and my Brother Garth with his wife Sherri.
In the gorgeous rotunda, Assemblywoman Carol Migden was just taking off her coat and being brief by her aids. We were led up to her when she offered, in her proverbial East Coast manner, "Let┬┤s get┬┤ it goin." We were her first couple and she didn┬┤t know what was going on any more than we did. But, it was fantastic! I reminded her that her after-election campaign party for her first San Francisco supervisor race was at the Baybrick, a South of Market club I had owned and managed years ago. She stopped, looked up and said, "Oh My Gawd that would have been in 1982. How are ya, all good?" I said, "Jeese Carol, I┬┤m great! This is Kathrynn my bride, my brother, his wife and my beautiful nephews." "OK, OK, OK, she said, "let┬┤s get lined up here, where are the witnesses, where┬┤s the rings?" Trust me, we were all a little numbly fumbled as we slogged our way through the traditional vows. I blurted out "I DO," no problem. Whereby Kathrynn, my ever authority-bucking partner, said, "Of course I do, I┬┤ve been doing it for years nowÔÇŽ" Carol interrupted her, "OK, OK, OKÔÇŽwhat┬┤s your name, Oh - Kathrynn, listen this is about the here and now. None of this past history stuff. You┬┤re getting married right now, alright? Is that alright?!" Kathrynn politely said, "I do. "Thank God!
Carol Migden pronounced Kathrynn Lyle and Lauren Anne Hewitt legally married, big kiss, tears, hugs, everyone happy, happy, and happy.
Marriage is not really something that I thought we needed to be happy - although, if marriage had been available to us we probably would have taken the opportunity to marry years ago.
I think the turning point came for me when I heard about the African-American senator who spoke from the floor of her memory of "separate but equal." She had to choke through tears to make her point that same-sex marriage should be legal. Her personal experience as a black American shaped her understanding of, "one door to enter for some folks and another door (less appealing) for other folks." I understand that feeling. I think all LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) people who desire to participate in society in a positive, accepted way know how that feels.