Recognizing Ourselves: Ceremonies of Lesbian and Gay Commitment

By Ellen Lewin | Go to book overview

8
MIXED MESSAGES

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-

San Francisco's "Mass Wedding," March 25, 1996 (Photo by Paul Sakumacourtesy the Associated Press)

-235-

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Recognizing Ourselves: Ceremonies of Lesbian and Gay Commitment
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Between Men ∼ Between Women Lesbian and Gay Studies v
  • Contents ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Prologue xv
  • 1 - Equal Rites 1
  • 2 - Heroes in Our Own Dramas 29
  • 3 - Old Symbols, New Traditions 47
  • 4 - This Circle of Family 87
  • 5 - Communities Interwoven 123
  • 6 - The Real Thing 159
  • 7 - Making a Statement 193
  • 8 - Mixed Messages 235
  • Notes 253
  • References 269
  • Index 279
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