"Winter of Love" celebrates it's thrid anniversary with the Marriage Equality Story Quilt
San Francisco – Mayor Gavin Newsom and Marriage Equality USA kicked off the third anniversary of the “Winter of Love” with a gala event at City Hall on February 12.
Participants in the civil case pending in California’s Supreme Court stood along side Mayor Newsom, Assemblymember Mark Leno, Senator Carole Migden, and other marriage equality activists as they unveiled the Marriage Equality Story Quilt.
“I’m so proud to be a San Franciscan. I’m so proud to participate in this remarkable ideal…as we try to advance our principles and advance our values… and say we want to live our lives with dignity,” said Mayor Newsom. “It’s so much richness and so much deeper than just a gay and lesbian issue. It’s about America.”
The hope is in the air that marriage equality will win. Assemblymember Leno reintroduced bill AB43 the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act in December 2006. The legislation proposes to change the language in the California Family Code from marriage being a relationship between a “man and a woman” to “two persons,” has 44 Democratic votes in the Assembly and the civil case pending at the California Supreme Court gives a feeling that marriage equality is within Californians grasps.
“It’s just a reminder of how important it is for us to keep at it,” said Molly McKay, media director of Marriage Equality USA. “San Francisco really started something and it’s spreading.
McKay continued, “This is a super bowl year. We have a decision that is in the California legislature [and] through the California Supreme Court. We can have marriage equality. It’s all about this year. We need to keep at it. Whether we get marriage equality this year it’s totally up to us.”
The "Marriage Equality Story Quilt" will be on display in San Francisco's City Hall this month. The Quilt was produced by Maya Scott-Chung, 46, outreach director for LGBT parents for MEUSA. She developed the concept of the quilt as a part of her public health master's degree project at San Francisco State University.
Scott-Chung perceives the quilt as a tool to "bring alive" and "tying together the connections of communities, ethnicities, and families" and represent the impact of the 1,138 federal rights that marriage automatically provides for couples and their families.
She modeled the quilt after the AIDS Memorial Quilt because of the impact and the historical meaning. The quilt commemorates the three-year anniversary of the "Winter of Love," when Mayor Gavin Newsom ordered city officials to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples; the 36th anniversary of the beginning of marriage counter demonstrations when LGBT couples began requesting the right to marry; and the 40th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned laws against interracial marriage.
Scott-Chung told the B.A.R. that marriage wasn't a high priority for her and her partner, Mei Beck Scott-Chung, until it became available at City Hall. Mei Beck Scott-Chung was two months pregnant at the time and they were on their way to a doctor's appointment, but ended up getting married at City Hall on February 13, 2004. It all became crystal clear to her in an instant what marriage meant and how family would be affected culminating, in "being good and responsible parents."
Since then she has been a marriage activist.