On March 25, 1996, San Francisco's Herbst Auditorium was the scene of a new kind of civic ritual. One hundred seventy-four lesbian and gay couples (and one heterosexual couple) participated in a "mass wedding" that solemnized their domestic partner registrations. Presided over by recently sworn-in Mayor Willie Brown, along with both gay and straight members of the city's Board of Supervisors, the ceremony was described in the local press as "an important milestone in the fight to give gay and lesbian unions the same official recognition as straight marriages." 1
Domestic partner registration itself had been available in San Francisco since 1991. Same-sex and other couples who registered through this mechanism lined up alongside heterosexual couples applying for mar
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Publication information: Book title: Recognizing Ourselves:Ceremonies of Lesbian and Gay Commitment. Contributors: Ellen Lewin - Author. Publisher: Columbia University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1998. Page number: 235.