Same-sex couples hold marriage license protest

February 14, 2013 6:42:48 PM PST
On this Valentine's Day, while straight couples lined up to get married at San Francisco City Hall, same-sex couples protested, asking for equal rights so they too can tie the knot.

This was an extra special day for many couples at city hall. It was a day they'll never forget. Jennifer and Jason Naluz said their vows Thursday morning on the rotunda.

"It's just a special day," Jennifer said. "It's not like any regular Valentine's Day. This is more special because it's our wedding day."

But across the way on the same floor, other couples were being denied the same opportunity.

They chose Valentine's Day to profess their love for their partners, but also to protest the inability to marry under the eyes of the law.

Thom Watson and Jeff Tabaco registered as domestic partners four years ago. They were among about two dozen same-sex marriage advocates at a gathering before they went to the city clerk's office.

"Today we're back here at city hall to celebrate our engagement to ask again for a marriage license," Watson said. "We know we won't be able to get legally married today."

The attempt was futile. But the protesters made their point. And they say they'll continue coming back every Valentine's Day until they win.

"We've been together 22 years," same-sex marriage advocate Linda Gates said. "We've been married for 20 years and we want it legal."

The group was in the room for about a half hour. Deputies blocked everyone else from entering while they were there. Not everyone agreed with what was happening. Mario and Jessica Caballeros couldn't get their wedding license until it was over.

"I don't think it's right," Mario said. "I mean, I honestly think god created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve, you know. This is holding us back from our moment and this just sucks."

Late Thursday afternoon also at city hall, same-sex partners got some good news from Assemblyman Phil Ting. He'll introduce legislation that'll give tax relief to workers with same-sex partners specifically to mitigate the federal tax on their health benefits.

"What we want to do at the state level is to help close that loophole by not collecting that tax," Ting said. "We will not accept it as income."

Assemblyman Ting's legislation would cover both government workers and employees of private companies operating in the state.

The U.S. Supreme Court on March 26 will hear oral arguments on whether to uphold or overturn Proposition 8, which voters passed in 2008 to amend the state's constitution to provide that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."

The court is expected to issue a decision in the case by the end of June.

(Bay City News contributed to this report)


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